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Report: Government to delay Japan Post share sale after insurance scandals

The Japanese government could delay its plan to sell about $10 billion of Japan Post Holdings Co. Ltd. shares after scandals involving its insurance units, Bloomberg News reported, citing people familiar with the situation.

Concerns over corporate governance and a fluctuating stock price could mean the sale of a third and final tranche of shares being delayed beyond the current fiscal year, with the timings of any sales beyond that point also still unclear, the people said, asking not to be named as the discussions are private.

The finance ministry had hoped to sell up to 1.06 billion shares as early as September, but this was disrupted after customers of Japan Post Insurance Co. Ltd. were found to have gotten poorer terms after switching to new policies at the recommendation of the company's sales staff. Japan's Financial Services Agency is likely to impose a three-month ban on new insurance sales by the two companies as a penalty for the irregular sales practices, The Asahi Shimbun reported recently.

The government raised about 2.8 trillion yen from two earlier sales of Japan Post Holdings shares, with an overall goal of 4 trillion yen by the year ending March 2023 to help fund recovery efforts from the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. A year-to-date fall of about 19% in the company's share price means that it currently trades below the level that would be needed to raise the required 1.2 trillion yen, Bloomberg noted.