2002 Japan joint issue revisited

For few months now, there is a discussion going on if the stamps issued in 2002 by India Post and Japan Post with the title “50th Anniversary of Diplomatic Relations between India and Japan” is really a joint issue or not. 

Our friend Souvik Ghatak (India) filed an application to India Post under the Right to information (RTI) act of 2005. He asked them, to confirm the joint issue status and to provide a copy of memorandum of understanding signed between both postal departments.

Indian Post provided the following information about the issue presently referenced in the catalogue under [P20020412a]: 1) This is not a joint issue and 2) since it was not a joint issue they could not provide a copy of memorandum of understanding between India Post and Japan Post (see copy of answer below). 

Thank Souvik for providing this information confirming this is not a joint issue. As a consequence, it will also apply to all other stamps issued on April 12, 2002 by Japan Post and involving Bangladesh [P20020411], Pakistan [P20020412a] and Sri Lanka [P20020412c].

Actually, in the catalogue, these issues appear already with the mention ‘controversial’ and the classification PX, which stands for doubtful. Accordingly, the wording in the catalogue will be modified and eventually these series will be switched from PX to N section. The stamps will remain described in the catalogue as numerous collector do own them already, but as for all the ‘N’ (non-accepted) joint issues, the collectors have to decide if they want to keep them within their Joint issue collection. The catalogue will just tell them the real status of these issues, which will now respectively be [N20020411] for Bangladesh-Japan, [N20020412a] for India – Japan, [N20020412b] for Japan – Pakistan and [N20020412c] for Japan – Sri Lanka.

Joint celebrations of diplomatic relationship does not necessarily mean that the stamps issued at this occasion are joint. The joint character comes from the will of both administrations to work together on a specific topic. Administrations define date of issue and design. However, even if discussions have started, administrations may finally decide that they will not issue the stamps jointly, resulting in absence of common stamps, no exchange of products, no common joint FDCs, etc. even if the topic remains the same.

There are several countries issuing regularly diplomatic relationship stamps without any connection with the other country. Brazil for example, is issuing several times a year, stamps related to other countries and very seldomly transforms them in a joint issue. These isolated stamps are not even to be considered as unilateral issue, as this vocabulary applies only in the case production of stamps eventually failed for any reason on one side.

Japan 2002 questionable Joint Issue

Upeka Indeewary from India did ask: “The joint issue catalogue describes a joint issue from the year 2002 involving Japan and four other countries, namely India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Pakistan. It appears that in Japan this issue is not considered as joint. Can you clarify? “

Indeed this joint issue could be considered as questionable. In the catalogue Vol 8, it is already described under four different entries [P20020411 and P20020412a-c]. While Japan issued all stamps the same day, April 12, 2002, the four other countries’ stamps from India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Pakistan were released with 1 to 14 days interval..

None of these countries claim a joint character, and indeed we also had some questions regarding the true status of this issue. This is the reason why these issues are filed in a category called [PX] and the catalogue uses specifically the word ‘controversial’ to describe them (See also in Catalogue Vol I for the definition of [PX]).

It happens some time that even in case of same data and same design, stamps were issued by two countries with one denying the joint issue status. In fact, in almost all these cases, and this Japanese stamps probably included, a first contact between the authorities took place and topic as well as day of issue were agreed. But during the process, it came to a disagreement and finally each country decided to pursue on its own. For this reason, considering at least the situation of starting the collaboration, we report such stamps in the catalogue.

Obviously, it was not per chance that all four countries came together with Japan and launched almost at the same date each a stamp with the same topic (not the same design) also appearing on the Japanese stamps (relationship). We leave to the collector to decide if such items have to be include or not in their own collection. If these stamps are not described in the catalogue, other collectors would ask why such series are not reported. The [PX] status became the alternative. In any case, present or not in the catalogue, questions would arise. It is possible to definitely state about these Japanese stamps, if someone can bring the real story behind the creation of these stamps.

Can someone help here?

Pakistan -Thailand 2021 last minute

Don Birschel (USA), Kenneth Sequeira (Dubai) and Adam Paish (UK) provided at the same time the latest information of the year 2021 from Pakistan which devoted on December 31, 2021 a stamp related to the 70th anniversary of the relationship with Thailand. Two stamps have been issued in panes of 20 se-tenant pairs and represent Buddha heritage. Actually, these stamps are joint of identical stamps issued by Thailand on November 15, 2021 and that remained unnoticed so far. Thailand issued miniature sheets of five pairs of se-tenant stamps. as such, this joint issue is reported in the catalogue (Vol XIV) as a concerted issue [C20211115].