Hinomaru opens door to foreign drivers in Japanese taxi industry


Hinomaru Transportation Co Ltd, looking ahead to the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, aims to serve the growing number of overseas visitors by leading the way in recruitment of foreign workers into the Japanese taxi industry.

In response to a labor shortage due to Japan’s declining birthrate and aging population, Hinomaru is promoting measures to supplement its taxi driver numbers by leading the industry in diversity recruitment.

Meanwhile, testing of self-driving taxis has also begun, as another way to cope with the driver shortage.

Hinomaru said it aims to bring the transportation industry into the future through technology and diversity hiring. To help this industry transition, the "Tokyo Sightseeing Taxi" program was prepared.


Hinomaru has already recruited bilingual personnel living in Japan from countries such as Egypt, India, Poland, Austria, France, and more as taxi drivers. The company has instituted a pioneering employee support and paid training program for these Japanese-speaking foreign workers so they may obtain the proper license and certification in order to join the previously closed taxicab industry in Japan.


What is the 'Tokyo Sightseeing Taxi' Program?

A way of classifying drivers that can provide high-quality services specific to tourism, through specialized knowledge and abilities, particularly for overseas visitors.The Tokyo Sightseeing Taxi Driver Certification System has been granted to those who passed the "Tokyo Sightseeing Guide Test", "Universal Driver Training" and "Tokyo Sightseeing Taxi Driver Certified Training." At this time, more than 1,500 certified drivers are active.

Some of Hinomaru’s foreign drivers

Mohammed (Egypt)

Having worked at an inn in Hiroshima gaining experience in the hospitality industry, he is skilled at reading and writing in three languages -- Egyptian Arabic, English and Japanese. His motivation is to provide for his wife and children.

Fabiola (Poland)

A graduate from Beijing Language and Culture University, she is currently studying at Waseda University and works to provide for her two children. This inspiring woman speaks six languages.

Nicolas (France)

After teaching French in Japan for several years, Nicolas was inspired to change his career in order to provide a better lifestyle for his family. Besides French, he speaks English and Japanese.

Ruger (Austria)

Prior to joining Hinomaru, he worked as a machine tool maker and also as a tour conductor, displaying both technical and communication skills. Speaking Japanese, English and German, he is able to utilize all his various skills as a Sightseeing Taxi driver.

Currently, Hinomaru employs drivers of 11 nationalities, with plans to hire at least four new employees per month this year in order to better serve inbound tourism.

Breakdown: Brazil 1, Korea 1, China 6, Egypt 2, France 1, Austria 1, India 1, U.S. 1 Poland 1, Sri Lanka 1, Philippines 1.

Interested in applying for a job at Hinomaru? Click here.

© Japan Today

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Good idea. Not just for the Olympics, using foreign residents properly and respectfully in the work place will help with the increasing labour shortage too.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

It just goes to show how backwards this country is that this is being trumpeted as something great, these are just people trying to survive in a country where their options can be extremely limited. Still, it's some progress I suppose.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Good for them.

A neat concept and some foreigners would probably feel more comfortable with these drivers due to the language barrier.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Looks like its 30 man plus a month for only 11 days' work, though those days are morning to night with a total of three hours break.

I'm sure those conditions will suit some people, so good luck to them. Self driving is definitely coming, so I would get in there now and not bank on this as your retirement in 10-15 years' time. Drivers offer more than simple driving, but this pay scale provides plenty of incentive to push the AI forward to replace or deskill them.

0 ( +1 / -1 )


0 ( +0 / -0 )

'm sure those conditions will suit some people, so good luck to them. Self driving is definitely coming, so I would get in there now and not bank on this as your retirement in 10-15 years' time.  just make it easier to fire foreigners when automated taxis become the norm in 10~15 yrs

0 ( +0 / -0 )

AI driving increases exponentially, so it won't be even 2 years not 10. It'll be about the car and local adoption. Telsa's version 1 was 45% safer than human driving. Version 2 is 300% better than version 1. It's about releasing it into the wild now, not about the technology.

However an Olympics is about people so I'm happy to see humans that will be needed for their language skills as well. Probably a fire sale afterwards and the AI cabs replacing the oyagis as they retire

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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