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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 3/11/13

Going Postal

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Services and hours for the main post office in my hometown, Sasayama, Hyogo, here in Japan.
Services and hours for the main post office in my hometown, Sasayama, Hyogo, here in Japan.
(Image by John Rachel (Author))
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Services and hours for the main post office in my hometown, Sasayama, Hyogo, here in Japan. by John Rachel (Author)

I left America August 2006. I've returned to the U.S. on three occasions for brief visits, but basically I've been living as an expat in 21 countries, including five in Europe, three in Africa, and thirteen in Asia.

This has given me the rewards of seeing how a variety of other people live, as well as how their respective governments treat them as citizens and human beings.

Now I live in on the outskirts of a rural town in Japan situated a little over an hour northwest of Osaka, also near Kobe and Kyoto.

Let me introduce to you the postal service here in Japan first with a video. It's short (less than 2 minutes) but you'll get the idea 20 seconds in. Click here.

As it is in America, New Years Day is a major holiday in Japan. But here they celebrate it by sending out New Years cards, the way we send Christmas or Hanukkah cards, millions and millions of them. It is so important to the Japanese people that these cards arrive on New Years Day that the post office sends an army of their employees into communities far and wide to deliver them. These postal employees are working ON a national holiday.

It gets better.

A quick glance at the photo appearing at the beginning of this article shows that the full range of services of Japan Post are available 9 am -- 7 pm Monday -- Friday, 9 am -- 4 pm   on Saturday. The ATM foyer is open 8:45 am -- 7 pm Monday -- Friday, and 9 am -- 5 pm SATURDAY and SUNDAY. Why is this significant? Because there is a window in the ATM foyer where you can still mail packages, envelopes, whatever, locally or internationally, and pick up mail being held for you at the post office, e. g. vacation mail or items which they attempted to deliver to your home needing a signature. On Saturday or Sunday.

Let me also mention that mail is delivered to each and every home six days a week, and important packages also delivered on Sunday. On a number of occasions, I have seen the mail carrier for my little village on the outskirts of town appear TWICE at my mail box in a single day.

If your mind isn't blown already by the level of mail service Japan Post provides, let me go on to describe what else it does. Here is the amazing array of services provided by Japan Post.
  • Regular Mail
  • Stamps
  • Parcels
  • Letter Packs
  • International Express Mail
  • Savings
  • Loans
  • Cash Transfers
  • Money Orders
  • International Remittances
  • Government Bonds
  • Investment Trusts
  • Life Insurance
  • Local Government Services
  • Compulsory Automobile Liability Insurance

Japan Post does all of this with care, courtesy, efficiency, incredible attention to detail and a dedication to providing good service. It is among the most loved and respected service institutions in this country. All of these services are available in the main lobby for 57 hours every week, Monday thru Saturday. Mail only services are available for 67 hours each week via a special service window in the foyer, also open on Sunday.

At Japan Post I can pay bills __ everything here is done electronically and I have never seen a check in my entire five plus years in Japan __ or send money to an individual. Buying on eBay or from a person selling something online couldn't be easier.

They have gift and travel catalogs. I can select a gift (sending gifts is a national compulsion here) and mail it off anywhere in the world. I can plan and book travel adventures and vacation packages.

I can withdraw from my bank account in America. I can transfer money anywhere in the world. I can open a savings account, I can invest in government bonds , or even set up an investment trust account. I can buy life insurance, and if I drove a car, auto insurance.

All of this at the post office.

Contrast this with America.

It was recently announced that Saturday mail service for the entire country was being eliminated, effective sometime in the fall.

So . . .

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John Rachel has a B.A. in Philosophy, and has written eight novels and three political non-fiction books. His political articles have appeared at OpEdNews, Russia Insider, The Greanville Post, and other alternative media outlets. Since (more...)

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