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SoftBank's Son says Japan is 'stupid' for not allowing ride-sharing

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By Sam Nussey

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"Ride-sharing is prohibited by law in Japan. I can't believe there is still such a stupid country,"

It’s not like this is a normal democracy.

Hey did you see the anti-smoking law too!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

70% of cab drivers are over 70, and 70% of men over 70 are cab drivers. Do the math. I'm sure there's a slew of former MOT officials on the special intererest group representing the drivers who are intent on keeping the road to the amakudari expressway open.

Math based on facts? 70% of men over 70 are cab drivers sounds exaggerated so curious about the facts.

Had good experiences with old cab drivers in Japan, friendly, fast and able to understand my pronunciation of the address, no bs about tips :)

Especially when you compare them with some NYC cabbies...

2 ( +2 / -0 )

70% of cab drivers are over 70, and 70% of men over 70 are cab drivers. Do the math. I'm sure there's a slew of former MOT officials on the special intererest group representing the drivers who are intent on keeping the road to the amakudari expressway open.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Think we might want to change how people actually refer to there companies. They're not really car sharing /ride sharing services. It's just another Taxi service by any other name.

We share taxis all the time, if we are going in the same direction, especially at certain events.EG New Year.

If anyone wants to share their care with someone, go ahead, there is nothing stopping anyone picking up their friends family or work mates and going to said place.

If you really want to RIDE share, why not use the bus, train, subway,after all. It's using the same roads, you'll save way more money,(if thats your reasoning for promoting UBER et al), you'll help a public service, and help the environment.

And lets face it, uber doesn't want to set up shop in the country side, does it?

They want to move into the BIG cities, undercut all the black cabs, make them loose, money.( and UBER will cream all the profits, and take non of the responsibilities.

If you can afford to ride an UBER et al my guess is... you can afford to ride a taxi.

There have been some complaints about UBER bullying driver who have refused a few rides,( for whatever reason) and UBER then, didn't give them any work for a few days.

This is just an agency, but they just reword the contract to say your SELF EMPLOYED. So they get around the EU et al labour laws. I won't support UBER, just to save a few stupid yen. And if i really needed to save money, I'd use the train/Subway. Btw there are a ton of Japanese APPS to order a taxi that looks after their staff.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jul/13/uber-practices-company-london-consumer-sumofus

2 ( +2 / -0 )

SoftBank's domestic telecoms business

Didnt build it, bought it from Vodafone Japan and renamed it.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Japanese taxis are good. I like them. They are pricy, but always clean and almost always polite.

Uber et all are a race to the bottom. They are a great service in that the app is excellent, and it's really nice to be able to call them to you, and have payment all be taken without having to sign anything or present cash or a credit card. But they don't pay their drivers enough to actually maintain their vehicles, so they drivers are the ones who pay for it in the end.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

What.... so because Japan's Taxi's are the best... as a commenter wrote, no other Taxi service is needed? Where does such narrow mindedness come from. People are not complaining about Quality.... they're complaining about Quantity. And by "Quantity" I mean the price. In the USA... drunken driving is on the decrease because people will now call an Uber driver for less... and there are more taxis on the road. Wouldn't it be nice to have a night out in Shinjuku and take a Taxi home for half the regular controlled fare. So many people stay out all night and wait until the first trains because they just don't want to pay a taxi service some crazy number. None of this is for safety sake.... its basic corruption.... and bribes. Its a nice cash cow for politicians.... they get to pass laws banning competition while they take cash from cabs.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I have lived in a far northern Tohoku city for a long long time and I’m quite certain I know more about the parking at bars and the nighttime taxi discounts here than you do.

Seems to me that you know more than the Japan Nation Tourism Association as well!

There is a late-night surcharge of around 20% for journeys made between around 10pm-5am. Any highway toll fees incurred during the journey are also added to the fare.

That's not a discount either as you claimed there is a nighttime discount of 10% to 20%. I have ridden in taxis all over this country, from Miyako in Okinawa to Asahigawa in Hokkaido and countless numbers of places in between. No place, in over 30 plus years of living here, had a nighttime "discount".

https://www.seejapan.co.uk/plan-your-trip/transportation/taxis-and-driving-in-japan/taxis-in-japan

Here is some more...guess you know more than these people too huh?

https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2021.html

When using a standard four-passenger taxi, fares typically start around 400-700 yen for the first two kilometers and increase by around 80-90 yen for every additional 300-400 meters traveled. The cost also increases when the taxi is not moving for a prolonged time. Late in the evening (typically 10pm to 5am), rates are raised by typically 20 percent. Eventual expressway toll fees incurred during the trip are added to the fare.

Point is Uber has a place here, but it's the taxis association that is worried about losing more money from having a bunch of "non-professionals" (rolling eyes sarcasm) driving around stealing their customers!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Nailed it!

"A country that gives up on the future has no future,"

0 ( +0 / -0 )

If Uber were in Japan crime would go up. Thousands of ojisans would be on the streets and that wold not be a pretty picture, they would turn to crime. Which by the way is what Taxi fares are in Japan, a crime. Highest in the world. And as usual, like rice prices in Japan, protected by the government bought off by industry.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I never had a problem with taxis in Japan. They were kind, polite, and while expensive I always felt satisfied with their service. So I agree with @ChopChop about that.

But living in San Francisco, Uber and Lyft have been a godsend. Taxi drivers here were notoriously rude, they'd go the long route to make more money, were outrageously expensive even when not trying to cheat you, and would simply refuse to let you in their car if they didn't want to go where you wanted. Now I can easily get to where I want to go, and cheaply too. Not to mention the cars are much cleaner, and the people you meet driving are depending on good reviews so they are polite.

I don't know if Son is correct in calling Japan stupid, but I do think there's a middle ground to allowing competition and more innovation to change the current system.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

There are many stories of Uber treating their drivers like dirt, so that would be my main concern. Japan has enough black companies as it is.

Exactly and in the EU they will take care of them.

http://fortune.com/2018/04/10/uber-cjeu-france-transport-ruling/

> The number of foreign tourists to Japan is already rocketing upward, so anyone who says Japan needs Uber or the worst bits of Airbnb for tourism is simply wrong.

Nobody needs both and it's rather amusing that many people hailing Uber despite raping labor conditions are complaining about low salaries and high costs of living in this country :)

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Belrick: Beggars belief the amount of cars I see going the same way, to the same work place, from the same area, with just the driver in the car.

There's no reason why Japanese people shouldn't be able to share their vehicles by taking turns to drive their colleagues daily or weekly, as a gesture of good will.

It would save gas and reduce congestion! But nope, for theost part, law or not, people here are either selfish or too timid to consider such a notion!

Belrick, you can pick up your workmates and go to work. He may share your car gasoline cost. It's no problem. You don't need approval from the Japanese Government to pick up your workmate friends because you're not doing that as a business and transporting strangers for fees.

Belrick. The Japanese law banned non-professional drivers from transporting paying customers on safety grounds.

Japan doesn't need ride sharing service like Uber because Japanese Taxi service is one of the best Taxi services in the world. Uber has many problems with safety issue in many countries. The Uber drivers committed serious crimes like sexual assault on female customers in the UK and Australia as well as in the third world countries like India.

Masayoushi-son called Japan as a stupid country for not allowing ride share service like Uber in Japan was unfortunately really stupid comment from the richest person in Japan. I was really surprised by his attacked on Japanese safety regulation. I believed he criticized Japan as a stupid country because his Uber ride sharing Company can't operate in Japan. I have a solution for him. His Uber drivers should pass professional taxi driver license first and then his Uber drivers will be eligible to carry and transport passengers. His problems has solved if he ordered all Uber drivers to get professional Taxi driver license first before they work for Uber.

Also, calling Uber as ride sharing service is wrong because Uber passenger does not share with anyone except the driver. Uber Company is running like Taxi Company, except customer order car by internet. Uber is not cheap as some peoples said. Uber can be expensive then Taxi in some areas. Uber and other ride sharing services can only work in third world countries where Taxi service is not reliable and no safety.

Taxi drivers in Japan are honest and also the Taxi fare is regulated. I don’t think Japan needs Uber service after all.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I am the only non-Japanese within a small closed off street, they don't associate with one another as is done in the West. So any changes relating to sharing will probably require a cultural shift first.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Ride sharing? So we want to fire all the taxi drivers, with other people, who do the same job, for crap wages, no holidays, no sick pay, no other contributions, and we'll put them on a yearly contract or call them SELF employed, so companies can wash themselves of ANY responsibility. Like UBER! Thankfully the laws are catching up with these companies trying to screw workers out of money. London, is a good example of clamping down on such companies.Eg Uber! And lets face it. i find the service of the Japanese taxi driver way way better than any Taxi driver i have ever had in the US, or the UK. So whats to improve on.

Amazon are also being investigated by claiming everyone is SELF employed as delivery drivers, but amazon control what they do, when they do it, and how many they deliver. fail to meet the target and your contract isn't renewed. Sounds rather similar to the teaching gig in japan. Work for a school for decades, fired every summer, and claim not to be directly employed by the schools, or just fired to meet some legal loophole.

These companies have only one loyalty and that is SHAREHOLDERS.

It doesn't matter how much profit the company makes, there is no incentive to increase wages when the shareholders want it. It doesn't matter how well the stock market rises, the workers aren't really getting any benefits either. Because a person is a cost, and if they can fire someone, replace someone with some tech they will.

Further more, in Japans case, if the companies can't find people to do certain jobs, then according to what some people say, the wages should rise to attract workers, which in turn pushes up inflation, and prices.Well non of that seems to be working in Japan, the UK, US, et al. People still going to food banks, working poor jobs, for poor wages. Great for the company, great for the shareholders but it doesn't really push up anyones earnings up. They eventually just pushes workers earnings down, puts them on minimum wages, government subsidies, food stamps, while profits go up and shareholders dividends go up.

It might make the customer save money, but some workers are loosing money.

I think amazon is a good example. We save a few yen, but we'll see the profits go to shareholders on the other side of the globe, dodge tax, while a mom and pop shop goes out of business.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

it's not like some kind of living standard was raised with the gig economy. As mentioned above he probably has shares in those companies and is trying to influence for profit. He doesn't care about people but people are easily snowed into acting against their own self interests, and he's good at that

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Allow Uber/Lyft/Grab and let customers decide whether it is worth using.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Uber is a ponzi scheme geared to empty riders pockets just when there is demand. This guy obviously wants the data traffic on his network. Who needs it!

2 ( +4 / -2 )

He is right. But it's not ''Japan'' as a nation, it's the corrupt bureaucrats bribed by the corporate lobby. Most Japanese are in favor of opening up the economy for more competition.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Yubaru, “...know what I am talking about from experience....

SO again WHERE do you live?”

I didn’t dispute that you know what you are talking about for your location. But as I pointed out, things are not necessarily the same everywhere you go. I have lived in a far northern Tohoku city for a long long time and I’m quite certain I know more about the parking at bars and the nighttime taxi discounts here than you do.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Interestingly my family was in Tokyo and we wanted to see one of the attractions but had limited time to do so. We asked about taking a taxi from the hotel to the attraction but were told by the concierge that it would be incredibly expensive! The same distance in central London would have cost 10 times less using an official licenced London cab! 

That simply can't be right. Pretty sure black cabs in London are more expensive than taxis in Tokyo. They are certainly not 10 times cheaper.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I completely understand him about this, but in Japan there are barriers some authorities don't want to release new ideas, and for them he is another Son of the ****, unfortunately.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I’ve used Uber in the U.K., and Vietnam all the time-no problem!

it has saved me a lot of money too!

The Japanese government is so far behind the curve.....

2 ( +5 / -3 )

The only reason the "Shared economy" is basically being locked out of Japan is because of the Taxi and Hotel lobby. All the top head families of these businesses are part of the ruling blue bloods of this country. Japan hates competition but in todays world that attitude will only isolate the country and it will continue its economic slide into obscurity.

Interestingly my family was in Tokyo and we wanted to see one of the attractions but had limited time to do so. We asked about taking a taxi from the hotel to the attraction but were told by the concierge that it would be incredibly expensive! The same distance in central London would have cost 10 times less using an official licenced London cab! Thats the real reason they don't want Uber or ride sharing. It has zero to do with safety! This may well be ok for Japanese folk who don't seem to question anything but I'm pretty sure the Tokyo Olympics will bring a whole lot of foriegners who will have the same thoughts as Mr. Son.

What the government is doing is not stupidity (they know exactly what they are doing) it is simply pure and plain protectionism under the guise of safety and security and that boils down to arrogance and disregard for the public at large.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

This reminds me of Ntt Docomo. Who took 4 years before selling iphone in Japan because of their non-sense pried.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Pros and cons aside, what I like here is the candid nature of the statement without pulling any punches........... Like a boss. probably one of the reasons he the richest guy in Japan, also his American education and Korean decent.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Not everywhere in Japan is the same. Where I live, most of the taxi companies have a nighttime discount of 10 to 20% from 11pm to 4am. And the daiko services, which of course entail two drivers, are not cheaper, especially if you add in paying parking lot fees for your car while you’re drinking (most bars here don’t have their own free parking lots). I know a lot of people who take a bus to the nightlife district and then a taxi home as it ends up cheaper than driving, parking, daiko.

Where do YOU live? Even with TWO drivers daiko are cheaper than taxis one way. I worked as a daiko driver for about 6 months and know what I am talking about from experience.

Daiko drivers get between 4,000 to 6,000 yen per night, averaging about 10 to 12 hours on duty, parking fees not withstanding as down here most places HAVE free parking.

SO again WHERE do you live?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Congratulations to Mr Son on his courage. Uber has been a great success here in Brazil, a true option that generates work and income to hundreds of thousands of people. Uber has also obliged the taxi companies to improve their quality and also offer better prices. Rental companies are offering special rates for Uber drivers. Shared cars, shared bikes are improving the economy and market. Mr Son is right. Hope that Japan gets the big picture of a global tendency.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Oldman

Part of the benefits of being a citizen is you also get to talk about your nation in a way that if you were a foreigner, it would be harder for people to accept. People are also more likely to listen to a successful local’s opinion.

He didn’t insult a nation. He insulted what he considers to be the stupidity of a nation based on its governments decisions.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

The so called gig economy is really only good for the large corporations that run them. What we really need is the convenience of Uber’s app to call regular cabs which are properly regulated... without the nastiness that Uber brings with their regulation dodging, worker oppressing practices.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Wow, how classy of him.

You don't insult a nation based on your opinions.

Imagine if a Japanese person called another country 'stupid' for their policies and laws. The anti-Japan crowd on here would be calling for his head.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

BelrickToday  04:36 pm JST

“Beggars belief the amount of cars I see going the same way, to the same work place, from the same area, with just the driver in the car.”

That sounds like a call for carpooling, not Uber. Many years ago in the US, I did some carpooling. But it doesn’t really work when people even from the same neighborhood, need to go in different directions to drop kids off at daycares, or go shopping or run errands at different places on the way home and such.

Yubaru, “Taking a daiko is less expensive than a taxi already as they do not have nighttime fares like taxis do.”

Not everywhere in Japan is the same. Where I live, most of the taxi companies have a nighttime discount of 10 to 20% from 11pm to 4am. And the daiko services, which of course entail two drivers, are not cheaper, especially if you add in paying parking lot fees for your car while you’re drinking (most bars here don’t have their own free parking lots). I know a lot of people who take a bus to the nightlife district and then a taxi home as it ends up cheaper than driving, parking, daiko.

I was also thinking calling Uber etc “ride sharing” is really a misnomer but I see Kohakuebisu has beat me to it. Just as homesharing is a misnomer when it’s a whole apartment or house bought as an investment that no one actually lives in.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Japanese cities have taxis every double-arms distance, so I personally prefer the convenience of those (and suspect that most Japanese do, too). Rural areas are a completely different story, esp. with declining population and resulting elimination of bus service.

To me that’s Shinjuku, Shibuya, and Tokyo. It’s hard to get a taxi from Shinagawa station east exit, long lines. Same with Hanzomon, Iidabashi, and other minor stations.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@ Belrick

Oh so you sit there analyzing us Japanese all driving around mostly with a person or two only in the car and you figure that “people here are too timid or selfish” to consider the wisdom of belrick.

I am glad we have your wisdom in the house cause I am sure wherever it is you come from people arent riding in their vehicles but instead all perfectly sharing and being harmonious, cars going from house to house gathering people since ya know...nobody has stuff to do in the am.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

The main thrust of Uber is not "ride sharing" though is it? It is getting people with cars and spare time to use them as unlicensed taxis. They are driving to places the customer demands, not "sharing" a ride to somewhere they are already going.

There are many stories of Uber treating their drivers like dirt, so that would be my main concern. Japan has enough black companies as it is.

The number of foreign tourists to Japan is already rocketing upward, so anyone who says Japan needs Uber or the worst bits of Airbnb for tourism is simply wrong.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

If there were a cheaper way of getting around the taxis would lose money, they fear.

FYI, taxis already are losing out a ton of cash because of unten-daiko. Prior to THAT service starting there were ONLY taxis, now the daiko have come and have cut their business, depending upon the location and company, by up to 50% or more during night time hours, also depending upon the day of the week.

People HAVE found a cheaper way to get around. Taking a daiko is less expensive than a taxi already as they do not have nighttime fares like taxis do..long story short, taxis are worried about losing MORE money than they already are now!

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Pros and cons aside, what I like here is the candid nature of the statement without pulling any punches........... Like a boss.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

The Japanese government outlaws non-professional drivers from transporting paying customers on safety grounds and the country has a vocal taxi industry lobby that has opposed deregulation.

This is a truly piss-poor translation here and will definitely make the casual reader wonder just wft is a "professional" driver.

The taxi lobby hammered the driving services, (unten-daiko) because the people who drove the customers vehicles did not have the same type of license as taxi drivers, the 2 shu license vs the 1 shu license.

THey are making the same complaints here and the government is listening and taking action. If the Uber driver has the 2 shu license which allows them to drive a taxi, there should be NO reason why they can not carry a passenger in their own vehicle, providing they have the proper insurance.

12 ( +12 / -0 )

@Laguna, there are many people in the countryside with no trains or taxi service and almost no buses. Ride-sharing would be a lifeline for them.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

Japan doesn't like competition. Taxis are already established. If there were a cheaper way of getting around the taxis would lose money, they fear. Same with Airbnb. Anything competitive runs against the ultra conservative LDP status quo.

Time for a change of thinking and a change of government.

9 ( +15 / -6 )

Japanese cities have taxis every double-arms distance, so I personally prefer the convenience of those (and suspect that most Japanese do, too). Rural areas are a completely different story, esp. with declining population and resulting elimination of bus service.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

When asked for a response, a spokesman for the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport said that an issue with ride-sharing services was that while the driver was in charge of transporting passengers, it was unclear who was in charge of maintenance and operation.

And yet, incredibly almost every other country was able to overcome this ' problem ',.... aint it just amazing.

Totally self servicing advice, I am sure he really cares about the Japanese consumer.

Self serving it may be but his business ideas certainly benefit the average J consumer more than the leeches in the LDP government ,s ideas/ policies do.

I for one, don't like the idea of people riding with random strangers in their cars. It's essentially hitchhiking. Who knows what kind of condition those cars are in or the true intent of the driver. 

Totally valid point, but its all about having a choice to pick between a sharing service or a taxi . Some people prefer the former, some later.

12 ( +14 / -2 )

Son is right on this one, and the only thing you might say is incorrect about his statement is that they've fallen behind in far more areas than he mentioned, for the same reasons.

8 ( +16 / -8 )

I dont trust his motivations.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

"Ride-sharing is prohibited by law in Japan. I can't believe there is still such a stupid country," s

Well ,since he has stakes in both DIdi and Uber, I am sure he feels that way. Totally self servicing advice, I am sure he really cares about the Japanese consumer.

0 ( +10 / -10 )

There's no reason why Japanese people shouldn't be able to share their vehicles by taking turns to drive their colleagues daily or weekly, as a gesture of good will. 

It would save gas and reduce congestion!

But nope, for theost part, law or not, people here are either selfish or too timid to consider such a notion!

Biased view on the same problem we've in the West with people driving single to their jobs and complaining about traffic jams.

At least way more Japanese then Westerners are using public transport to reach their work places.

4 ( +12 / -8 )

I for one, don't like the idea of people riding with random strangers in their cars. It's essentially hitchhiking. Who knows what kind of condition those cars are in or the true intent of the driver. People get scammed or like this or worse all the time. A marked taxi with a uniformed driver and credentials posted feels more legit and safe.

Some people were scared as a child..

5 ( +10 / -5 )

This is wrong. The gig economy does nothing but replace services with ones that circumvent the rules and regulations that protect society for the sake of profits. So of course he's against that

Just because you're rich doesn't mean you should be in charge

-3 ( +7 / -10 )

I for one, don't like the idea of people riding with random strangers in their cars. It's essentially hitchhiking. Who knows what kind of condition those cars are in or the true intent of the driver. People get scammed or like this or worse all the time. A marked taxi with a uniformed driver and credentials posted feels more legit and safe.

-6 ( +9 / -15 )

he is absolutely right....

9 ( +14 / -5 )

Beggars belief the amount of cars I see going the same way, to the same work place, from the same area, with just the driver in the car.

There's no reason why Japanese people shouldn't be able to share their vehicles by taking turns to drive their colleagues daily or weekly, as a gesture of good will.

It would save gas and reduce congestion! But nope, for theost part, law or not, people here are either selfish or too timid to consider such a notion!

1 ( +9 / -8 )

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