The Financial Services Agency launched Wednesday an on-site investigation of Japan Post Insurance Co and Japan Post Co, units of the country's state-backed postal and financial services group, after they admitted mis-selling some 183,000 insurance policies.
The financial watchdog's probe into the units of Japan Post Holdings Co could last more than two months before it decides what action to take -- possibly by the end of this year -- sources close to the matter said.
The investigation, which began in the morning at the two units' head offices in the Otemachi business district of Tokyo, will assess the root causes of the mis-selling, by which customers were double charged for new and old policies, even after terminating older ones.
Agency officials will check sales manuals, and question employees of Japan Post Insurance and post office workers, who were entrusted with selling policies at branches up and down the country.
"We want to comprehensively know the facts," a senior official at the agency said.
Japan Post Holdings has admitted sales quotas led to gross mismanagement and improper sales.
The insurance arm admitted in July mis-selling around 183,000 policies to customers, many of whom are elderly, over the past five years.
The unit suspended marketing of its insurance products, but plans to resume this on Oct 1.
Japan Post has also found around 104,000 insurance policies were mis-sold at Aflac Life Insurance Japan Ltd, causing customers to be temporarily uninsured and/or double charged during a one-year period through May this year.
The Japanese government is the biggest shareholder in Japan Post Holdings, a former state enterprise that was privatized in 2007.© KYODO