TOKYO — Japan Post, the Japanese postal service that offers many financial services Americans typically associate with banks, says that it will remodel or replace the over 25,000 ATMs it owns to allow them to validate their users identity with fingerprints.

According to press reports, the company will introduce the Hitachi Ltd. fingerprint technology to make its roughly 26,500 automated teller machines across the nation biometric by the end of March 2009.

Japan Post is scheduled to issue integrated circuit cash cards that can record holders’ fingerprint data starting in October in a bid to prevent illegal withdrawal of deposits with the use of forged or stolen cards.

The service will remodel 12,000 of its ATMs to make them biometric by the end of September and then replace the remaining 14,500 in stages by the end of March 2009.

Part of the second-phase replacement will be undertaken by the postal savings bank, a unit that will emerge from the planned privatization of the postal system starting in October 2007.

In addition to the postal savings bank, the privatization process will create three other entities under a holding company–a mail service company, a postal life insurance firm and a company to manage the nationwide network of post offices.