Japan Govt Panel Proposes Use of Ride-Sharing Services at Osaka Expo

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Visitors to Japan line up at a cab stand at Tokyo Station.

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — A Japanese government panel proposed Tuesday that ride-sharing services be utilized at the 2025 World Exposition in Osaka.

The Regulatory Reform Promotion Council, chaired by East Japan Railway Co. Chairman Tetsuro Tomita, adopted an interim report containing the proposal in a meeting at the Prime Minister’s Office.

It urged the government to clarify details of the ride-sharing services, in which people use their personal vehicles to offer paid rides, that would be allowed under a partial lifting of a ban.

The government plans to allow ride-sharing services managed by taxi companies from next April. Such services will be allowed when and where taxi drivers are in short supply, based on data from taxi-hailing apps.

The council called on the government to allow ride-sharing services “in cases where (shortages) can be reasonably predicted,” seeking flexibility with the Osaka Expo in mind.

“We will work to hammer out the details and provide support so that a new transportation service using personal vehicles and ordinary drivers can be implemented from next April,” Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said at the meeting. “The government will discuss the matter in cooperation with the council ahead of the compilation of a regulatory reform implementation plan next June.”

The council also urged the government to strengthen crackdowns on operators of ride-hailing applications that offer paid rides on personal vehicles. Such rides, known as “shirotaku” unlicensed taxis, are currently prohibited in principle under the road transportation law.