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Japan cracking down on illegal taxis as tourism boom drives demand

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Read: LDP wants a big cut off all profits. Entrepreneurship is a threat to the LDP.

7 ( +30 / -23 )

Transport ministry officials handed out hundreds of fliers stating "Beware! Unlicensed taxis are illegal and unsafe!" in English and Chinese to arriving international visitors in early November at the airport in Chiba Prefecture. It also warns that passengers may not be covered by insurance if injured while riding in an unauthorized taxi.

Standard Japanese way to fearmongering, yes they are illegal but not that unsafe. Many countries have airport where operate unlicensed taxis, some even better than licensed taxis because it's operated by senior driver who know cities better than younger driver that operate licensed taxis.

Too bad those ministry official just can't find good samples that show accidents really happened which committed by those illegal taxi, otherwise they will repeat same about accidents.

Driving with or without passenger doesn't make much different, unless you bring special need person that will make noise and movement along the ride.

-13 ( +18 / -31 )

Japan already has its share of senior la that mistake has pedal for brake causing mayhem and death!

How are younger drivers with a car that has a shaken going to be more of a risk?

This is another example of Japanese authorities not being able to change…

-3 ( +16 / -19 )

Against the backdrop of an acute shortage of taxi drivers in rural areas and tourist spots, however, calls to open up the market grew recently within the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, including from former Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida also expressed willingness in October to address the problem and vowed to discuss allowing ride-hailing services to operate.

Here we go again,

The solution to a shortage of taxi drivers (and thereby taxi services to hospital etc) is a vow to discuss.

That should sort things out.

9 ( +15 / -6 )

Unlicensed taxis have the white plates of private vehicles.

The writer here is actually giving weight to these drivers by calling them "taxis".

They are not only unauthorized or unlicensed, but illegal as well, and it shouldnt be all that hard for the other drivers in the always present queues of taxis to point them out and get the airport authorities and or police to stop them.

13 ( +20 / -7 )

How are younger drivers with a car that has a shaken going to be more of a risk?

Not licensed, not metered, not monitored, not insured........ Need more?

Nothing to do with age either. Driving a taxi is not fun, and not a job that many want to do. I 've done it for a number of years as a PT job, and drove daiko too. It's hard work.

20 ( +24 / -4 )

Japan should crack down upon Illegal Taxi Driving practices and design of Taxis.

Headlight blindness is a new issue... dipping the head-lights as you approach oncoming traffic is no longer a requirement, and indeed becoming no longer available.

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

Standard Japanese way to fearmongering, yes they are illegal but not that unsafe. Many countries have airport where operate unlicensed taxis, some even better than licensed taxis because it's operated by senior driver who know cities better than younger driver that operate licensed taxis.

Well several countries have unlicensed taxis that will pick you up from the airport then overcharge you, drive off with your luggage or take you to a spot for someone to rob you. That my friend is unsafe. Better be safe than sorry.

14 ( +19 / -5 )

Unlike overseas where ride-hailing operators, including Uber Technologies Inc and Grab Holdings Inc, are widely used, Japan in principle bans such services that enable drivers of private vehicles to serve as unofficial taxis.

Ah, there is the real reason.

Typical LDP/Japan Inc. synergy. The only losers are the Japanese public.

2 ( +15 / -13 )

because it's operated by senior driver who know cities better than younger driver that operate licensed taxis.

I can assure you thats not the case in Japan.

5 ( +10 / -5 )

It is not good that unlicensed taxies take many jobs from regular licensed taxis that are maybe awaiting passengers all day and every day. All unlicensed taxies don't have full insurance of car accident. Licensed taxi company fully can support passengers in case of car accident. Unlicensed taxi is illegal in Japan in the first place. It is against the law whatever.

9 ( +14 / -5 )

Mmmmm this should’ve been done when legit taxi companies were struggling in the pandemic period

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I once sat in a licensed taxi and noticed that the driver was inebriated.He narrowly missed colliding with several road barriers.

Also, the number of times that I’ve seen the rudeness of some drivers and where one complained about why I should be walking instead of taking a taxi and assumed that I couldn’t understand-never had that problem abroad ever.

Well, the point is that Japan needs more competition to meet increased demand for taxi services.

If legal means aren’t found then illegal ones will be offered

-7 ( +6 / -13 )

You can also tell an unlicensed taxi from a licensed one if it's not a black Toyota sedan from the 80s with seats covered in doily lace and a driver over 70 who will have trouble finding your destination and zero ability to communicate in English.

-3 ( +11 / -14 )

So if Japan does not want private taxis they should do what any other country would do in the same situation, Lower the price of your taxis and compete them out of the market. Typical large Japan corps, they want all the big profits. Its called Greed

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Oh, and how many ‘licensed’ Japanese taxi drivers speak English or Chinese?

-6 ( +8 / -14 )

Why would taxi drivers be required to speak English? Taxi drivers in London and New York don't speak Japanese.

6 ( +19 / -13 )

Adding to my comment above I use a private taxi very often from a bar I drink at to my house, Private Taxi ¥1000, normal taxi ¥3500. So if the private taxi is still making a profit at ¥1000 then the taxi companies can comfortably do it for ¥2000 and still make a profit. Taxi companies get big discounts on gasoline, tires, replacement cars etc. if a normal taxi was ¥2000 (in my case) I would use them, but not while they are being greedy.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

So if Japan does not want private taxis

There are so many legal private taxis all over Japan, especially in big cities now. They are licensed private taxis.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Licensed private taxi is 個人タクシー

4 ( +4 / -0 )

taxi ceo: hey we need more taxi’s. Too many tourists, not enough drivers or cars.

driver: what about using Uber or Lyft?

taxi ceo: we don’t get a cut fool, make them illegal. call them “dangerous.”

Driver: didn’t we just have three taxi drivers crash and mistake the gas pedal for the break pedal?

taxi ceo: shut up. Go ahead and distribute those paper maps, now.

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

We’re being told that turning Japan into Disneyland for foreign tourists is a good thing and yet all of the benefits are being funneled into a few companies who have cozied up to the government.

What a nice introduction to the country for visitors who have to wait hours for taxis at the airport because of over regulation.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

And at the same time everywhere announcing and promoting 'ride-sharing', which is nothing different? lol

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Japan has always tried to crack down the illegal taxis, as they are illegals, meaning no tax revenue declaration.

Otherwise, the government wants to open the market to private drivers.

I am waiting for that moment as in my city:

The majority of taxi drivers do not put the luggage/ suitcase in the trunk , scared by the possible weight

In the early morning, especially on Sunday taxis are not available
1 ( +3 / -2 )

"Why would taxi drivers be required to speak English?"

Hinomaru Kotsu Taxi Company employs 75 foreign drivers whom are able to provide customer service in a language other than Japanese. The company maintains an informative website in both Japanese and English...

https://hinomaru.tokyo/recruit/foreign/en.html

4 ( +7 / -3 )

And at the same time everywhere announcing and promoting 'ride-sharing', which is nothing different? lol

If car is authorized as ride-sharing, they can do taxi legally. There are some requirements to do it.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

All licensed taxis are private companies.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

All licensed taxis are private companies.

Not all. My friend is a private taxi driver, not belong to any tax company. He got a private license for own taxi business after applied to the government. It took a few years to clear requirements.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I think anyone can be a licensed taxi driver in Japan if he/she have proper visa to work. The other day I watched the TV about some foreign taxi drivers in Japan. They belong to the taxi company. A big problem about being taxi driver is whether they can speak Japanese fluently or not. Fortunately, these foreign taxi drivers can speak Japanese fluently. They said love driving. They got taxi license for working for the taxi company. Many companies badly need more drivers anyway.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

How is it unsafe? I for one think Japan taxis are insanely expensive. What other job do you get paid more to be slow and inefficient. They hit every stop light that adds on average 200 yen to every light depending. While they claim it’s for safety. The taxi laws needs reformed.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

Folks have to stop calling these services "private taxis". They are NOT, they are 100% illegal driving services!

Private taxis are owner operated taxis, called a "koujin taxi", otherwise they are company run businesses.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Unlike overseas where ride-hailing operators, including Uber Technologies Inc and Grab Holdings Inc, are widely used, Japan in principle bans such services that enable drivers of private vehicles to serve as unofficial taxis.

Ah, there is the real reason.

Typical LDP/Japan Inc. synergy. The only losers are the Japanese public.

I won't use either Uber or Lyft because I see them as scabs. They do not have a commercial drivers license with a passenger endorsement like a professional driver has. The car is not insured the same as a registered taxi is, nor is it inspected by whatever authority is responsible for inspecting commercial vehicles (usually a state highway patrol in the US). There is no background check either. You don't know if you are getting Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde when that Uber rolls up. No, I want a licensed registered taxi with a meter.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Arrived at Natita recently and 2 different Chinese men whispered "Taxi" to me when I was waiting for my ride to pick me up so yeah its a bit concerning

8 ( +10 / -2 )

kwatt

All licensed taxis are private companies.

> Not all. My friend is a private taxi driver, not belong to any tax company. He got a private license for own taxi business after applied to the government. It took a few years to clear requirements.

So all licensed taxi drivers are company employees or self-owners (koujin taxi). But they are all licensed. Don't think I have ever taken a taxi other than a company one.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Its far, but there are very high quality trains between Narita and Tokyo.

There is no need for unlicensed taxis. Anyone claiming "regulations" should answer why Yubaru, one of the small number of posters on here, was able to become a taxi driver. The answer is because it's not that difficult. If you destroy the lucrative routes existing taxis, you'll destroy all the local Narita firms, who will also do mega unprofitable things like taking old people to the hospital. All that just to stuff tax-free cash in the offshore direction of Mr. "who cares if the driver touches her up?" Uber.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

 He got a private license for own taxi business after applied to the government. It took a few years to clear requirements.

The "government" is not in charge of licensing koujin taxi drivers. Typically it does not take years, so something strange happened with the case of your friend here.

Until recently only veteran drivers, with 5 or more years of experience, I believe it was, were allowed to go out on their own and register as a "koujin" driver, with their own vehicles.

Usually, as in nearly 100% of the time, they are a part of a drivers union, and have strict regulations they must follow, with inspections, and such, but they get to keep all their income.

Again it does not take "a few years" to clear the requirements, it can be done in a very short manner of time, if all the requirements are met.

Don't think I have ever taken a taxi other than a company one.

You more than likely wouldnt have even realized it unless you can read the kanji for 個人タクシー

as all are marked, usually on the doors

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Don't think I have ever taken a taxi other than a company one.

> You more than likely wouldnt have even realized it unless you can read the kanji for 個人タクシー

No, because owner taxis are probably not available when I need them. More likely in the big cities. I use company taxis because I have their phone numbers. I also use membership cards for reductions. But I would have no problem taking a koujin taxi if it was available.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Sam WattersToday 06:51 am JST

Read: LDP wants a big cut off all profits. Entrepreneurship is a threat to the LDP.

No, they just want to prevent the parasite chinazis from taking over Japanese drivers' livelihoods.

Nothing wrong with that.

At least the Japanese govt doesn't want to sell out its own people to the chiNazis.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Transport ministry officials handed out hundreds of fliers stating "Beware! Unlicensed taxis are illegal and unsafe!" in English and Chinese to arriving 

It’s not necessary state such as thing, but just to warn it in Chinese

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I use company taxis because I have their phone numbers

Koujin taxis are a part of a union and their "telephone" numbers are listed right along side of "company" one's or and again, you probably didnt realize it, 共同無線, where companies and private owners utilize a community sourced dispatcher that is centrally located and dispatches taxis. Both privately owned "koujin" and "company" run ones as well.

Your "company" taxi number could very well be a joint number used by multiple taxi services, private or company run, and odds are extremely high you wouldnt know it!

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Yubaru

I think I am aware enough in my life to know what I am doing. I collect receipts for my rides. The taxis I use in our location are company-owned. In our city people over 70 without a car receive free taxi tickets but can only be used with certain companies. Why are you always so argumentative?

When I phone for a Fujii taxi, it's a Fujii taxi that turns up. I don't live in the big city.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

I think this is a great way to ensure quality of service, good standard of living instead of a race to the cheapest and lowest wage. Have someone police the area and fine them. Still get your money government, keep people in jobs or make them get a license. Why cut out other peoples jobs so some other cheap companies can cream off profits and then say…… we’re just an app. Not our problem!!!!!!

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I think I am aware enough in my life to know what I am doing. I collect receipts for my rides. The taxis I use in our location are company-owned. In our city people over 70 without a car receive free taxi tickets but can only be used with certain companies. Why are you always so argumentative?

When I phone for a Fujii taxi, it's a Fujii taxi that turns up. I don't live in the big city.

Not everything is the same throughout Japan. Dont take things so personally.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Yubaru

Not everything is the same throughout Japan. Dont take things so personally.

I never said it was and pointed out I don't live in a big city. You are the one who dismissed my comment.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

I never said it was and pointed out I don't live in a big city.

You misunderstand things here. Big city, small village, doesnt matter.

I am just taking the time and effort, to let other people know that one little corner of Japan does not mean, nor should be taken to mean, that everywhere in Japan is the same.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Taking a taxi from Narita to Tokyo is crazy. The express train is by far the best option. Unless you're truly wasteful with your money.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

We find the bus in to Tokyo best from airports. If we time it right we can get one right to our home station.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

"Taking a taxi from Narita to Tokyo is crazy."

Hello Trevor Peace; I completely agree with your viewpoint, and I understand that a taxi costs more than twenty-thousand Yen from the airport. (Hyperdia shows the one-way fare as 2,730 http://www.hyperdia.com/cgi/en/search.html?dep_node=NARITA)

But the thrust of this article is -- what if private hire cab service (such as Uber or Grab) were available...?

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

During coronavirus upon return you had to hire a private drive service like Klook which I used 3 times and it was great. In September I tried to call a taxi for the airport and they were too busy and did not answer. Consumers need more options.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

What's the Insurance situation for Private Hire cabs should an accident arise and the passengers are injured ?

And what if you're simply driving friends/colleagues in your private car and they're injured in an accident - would your insurance cover them ?

If instead of using your own Car, you use a Rental car - are there any differences to the above ?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

If instead of using your own Car, you use a Rental car - are there any differences to the above ?

I would be amazed if, buried in the legalese of the rental agreement, is a prohibition for using the rental car for hire as a taxi.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

And what if you're simply driving friends/colleagues in your private car and they're injured in an accident - would your insurance cover them ?

If you have liability insurance, yes they are covered. Amounts vary based upon coverage, but yes they are.

What's the Insurance situation for Private Hire cabs should an accident arise and the passengers are injured ?

Private hire is the exact same as a taxi running on the street. Passengers are fully covered in the case of an accident.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The "government" is not in charge of licensing koujin taxi drivers. Typically it does not take years, so something strange happened with the case of your friend here.

You are right about it. Not government. My friend was mistaken Kanto District Transport Bureau for government. He took 2.5 years, because he failed interview and test. He did not study much.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

They did the same to air bnb, once they noticed normal citizens were making a little extra money it was decided that the government should be the one to make the rules for it and turned it into the same hotel system people are trying to get away from

ride sharing will be the same thing or I’m willing to bet some crazy people will think ride sharing means “the girl who enters is mine to do with” sharing knowing the crazy folks that pop up

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

ride sharing will be the same thing 

Ride sharing is nothing new here. The idea of allowing private owners to commercially transport customers is, and the government has no way of regulating the industry, as they do with taxis. Taxis also fought against it, as they did with daiko driving services.

They forced the "drivers" to have commercial vehicle drivers licenses, as prior to that, anyone with a license could, and taxis lost a ton of cash because of it.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

My dog, I have never, ever, ridden in a taxi. This must be so confusing to all the people who have to use them.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

The interesting point I read is that Chinese travelers book private taxis via a Chinese app and there is no way for the police to prove anything unless they walk up and the passenger and driver admit to the police.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Always remember a license is when the government takes away your freedom and sells it back to you.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

No they didn't. Except in a few select areas, offering private lodging for money is still very much allowed in Japan as long as one doesn't make a business out of it.

Me thinks you misunderstand the law. These laws are not restricted to one or another area, but ALL Japan. They basically have done the exact same thing to Airbnb through the Minpaku regulations

All Airbnbs in Japan now need a licence number (which should be on the Airbnb listing of the property) and require guests to give them a copy of their passport if they're non-Japanese. If you're planning to stay in an Airbnb in Japan, it's totally legal and safe to do so.

https://www.airbnb.com/help/article/920

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Also

https://www.mlit.go.jp/kankocho/minpaku/index_en.html

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Since the government announced recently that train fares would be increased on the weekends, taxis would take away from that profit. Can't let that happen. The "illegal" taxis are often cheaper and the person doing the driving gets all the money. No kickbacks to taxi companies or others.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Exactly. You need a license number, but that does not mean it is prohibited. You simply need to announce it to your municipality. This prevents a private property being rented out for more than 180 days a year by sharing it between multiple Airbnb acocunts.

And how is this any different than the comment you made here?

No they didn't. Except in a few select areas, offering private lodging for money is still very much allowed in Japan as long as one doesn't make a business out of it.

Yes they did, just like taxis, they have to be licensed to operate legally! They did the exact same thing to AirBnb!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Taking a taxi from Narita to Tokyo is crazy. 

My first thoughts! Only noobs to Japan, or those with disposable income will pay for that trip.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@wallace

There is a massive need for bilingual or trilingual taxi drivers due to the massive numbers of foreigners entering Japan.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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