Japan’s lower house of parliament has approved a plan to privatize the $3 trillion postal system, creating the world’s largest bank. The vote was a personal triumph for Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, who has long championed spinning off the post office’s financial services as the key plank in his reform program. When the previous parliament rejected the plan, Koizumi called early elections, which his party won by a landslide last month. He acknowledged this week’s victory with a dramatic bow to the Diet. The bill now goes to the upper house, which is still dominated by privatization opponents. But analysts say Koizumi’s momentum is now unstoppable, and the bill is expected to pass.
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