Many Japan Mail Collection Boxes See 30 or Fewer Items per Month

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
A mail collection box is seen in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo, in July 2011.

About 25% of mail collection boxes in Japan receive 30 or fewer postal items per month, according to a survey by Japan Post Co.

In principle, Japan Post collects mail once a day, even in areas that have lost population and where collection boxes are rarely used. This has created a cost problem for the company as it works to keep the boxes operational.

Japan Post has presented the results of the survey to an expert panel of the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry, which considers criteria for installing collection boxes and how they should be used, among other issues.

In June this year, Japan Post interviewed those in charge of collecting mail from the boxes nationwide about the average monthly mail volume per box. The results showed that 3.9% of collection boxes had “zero to one” items per month, while “two to nine” items were seen at 7% of boxes and “10 to 19” items at 7.4% of boxes. The percentage of boxes with “20 to 30” postal items was 6.9%. In total, 25.1% of post boxes had 30 or fewer items.

The ordinance for the enforcement of the Postal Law states that the number of collection boxes installed across the nation should be maintained based on the figure in 2003. At the end of fiscal 2003, there were about 186,000 collection boxes nationwide, but the figure had declined to about 175,000 as of March this year.