TOKYO -- Japan Post Co. and East Japan Railway Co. (JR East) on June 12 announced the conclusion of an agreement aimed at revitalizing regional areas, with the companies considering unified management of local train station and post office counters.
Under the agreement, the companies will also set up a new type of store specializing in financial product consultation at commercial facilities at stations in urban areas this fiscal year.
The firms envisage unified operation of counters at regional stations which are struggling financially due to a lack of passengers. Japan Post will move post offices to station buildings, and JR East will consider entrusting station work to Japan Post. Both companies will discuss the timing of such moves, how to handle passengers and what level of business -- such as ticket sales -- to entrust to Japan Post.
JR East Executive Director Akihiko Ishikawa commented, "In addition to stations and post offices, we want to consider incorporating administrative functions as well with the cooperation of local bodies."
At Ecute Tachikawa, a commercial facility at JR Tachikawa Station, which is located in an urban area, the companies will establish a new store that will handle consultations on financial products and insurance. Officials hope to target salarymen on their way home from work who normally have few opportunities to visit post offices, as well as those from younger generations. The companies will base such stores at stations used by a large number of people, aiming to boost the sale of financial products.
In addition, the companies will also consider delivering regional crops to Tokyo Station the same day they are harvested by shinkansen and selling them. Japan Post will use its network to deliver the harvested crops to the nearest shinkansen stations.
In its midterm management plan announced in May, the Japan Post Group put forward a policy of maintaining its post office network by providing services catering to regional needs, and the latest agreement is believed to be part of those plans.
(Japanese original by Arimasa Mori, Business News Department)