Five Japanese, Chinese Nationals Arrested for Operating Unlicensed Taxis for Foreign Tourists; Suspects’ Customers Used to Reserve Services

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
A sign warning against unlicensed taxi services is seen at Narita Airport in Chiba Prefecture in September 2023.

The Metropolitan Police Department has arrested five Japanese and Chinese nationals on suspicion of violating the Road Transportation Law by operating unlicensed taxis, according to investigative sources.

Foreign tourists booked the rides through B.V., a Netherlands-based major travel booking company, among other platforms.

The five suspects, who were arrested between Sunday and Tuesday, include Chen Jiao, 30, an unemployed Chinese national living in Hokota, Ibaraki Prefecture.

The suspects allegedly picked up foreign tourists at hotels in Tokyo and Chiba Prefecture and dropped them off at Haneda Airport between Dec. 13 and Jan. 25, receiving about ¥4,000 to ¥10,000 per ride, according to the sources.

They have admitted to the charges.

Two of the five were registered as drivers at an overseas ride-hailing service company through a Chinese broker. Their customers booked rides through, with which the ride-hailing service company partners, the sources said.

The other three suspects allegedly operated the unlicensed services mainly through a Chinese car-hailing app.’s Japanese subsidiary in Tokyo admitted that the rides were booked through the company’s reservation site. “We are asking our business partners to stop offering rides in an illegal manner,” the company told The Yomiuri Shimbun.

According to the Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry, unlicensed taxi services became rampant around international airports throughout the nation approximately seven years ago. Their number declined during the COVID-19 pandemic but began to increase again last year.

In December, the Tourism Agency asked and three other companies to purge unlicensed ride-hailing services from their platforms.