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A government panel has decided to end Saturday delivery for standard mail to deal with a labour shortage at Japan Post Co and a drop in demand due to increased use of the internet, reports Japan Today.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications accepted the proposal from the panel and will seek a law amendment in the autumn.

Delivery on Saturday could be terminated possibly next year and it will be available only on weekdays.

The panel also proposed that delivery for standard mail the day after posting be ended.

Japan Post, a unit of Japan Post Holdings Co, has been calling for a review to trim standard mail service hours to five days a week from the current six days to address the workforce shortage.

The government holds a more than 50 % stake in Japan Post Holdings.

The unit estimates the changes will lift its profit from the postal service business by 62.5 billion yen through reducing labour costs, which are on the rise due to the staffing shortfall.

Saturday delivery for parcels is to be maintained, along with that for express and registered mail. The postal service unit is considering a 10 % cut in charges for express mail in return for discontinuing Saturday mail service.

The panel also proposed extending the standard delivery time limit of three days to four days to maintain stable services.