Statement on AUSTR Wendy Cutler's Meeting with Cabinet Office Senior Vice Minister Kouhei Ohtsuka

February 24, 2010

This press release was prepared by the Office of the United States Trade Representative.

Tokyo, Japan - Assistant USTR for Japan, Korea & APEC Affairs Wendy Cutler met today with Cabinet Office Senior Vice Minister Kouhei Ohtsuka to present U.S. views on the draft outline on postal reform legislation.

In the meeting, AUSTR Cutler made it clear that the United States has not taken a position on whether Japan Post should be privatized or restructured in some other way, which is a decision for Japan to make.

AUSTR Cutler underscored the U.S. Government's long-standing concerns about the preferential treatment that Japan Post companies receive compared to private sector companies in the insurance, banking, and express delivery sectors. She raised areas of concern in the draft outline with respect to level playing field issues.

"The United States is not asking for protection or special treatment for U.S. companies. What we are seeking is equal treatment so that private sector companies and Japan Post can compete on a level playing field," AUSTR Cutler explained.

AUSTR Cutler urged Japan to seriously consider both the U.S. concerns and Japan's own international obligations in drafting legislation and implementing its reforms. She said that the United States looks forward to continuing to work with Japan to address U.S. concerns going forward.