Taxi Industry Diversifies in Japan

taxi in Japan

With Japan’s aging population, especially along taxi drivers, the taxi industry has had to find new creative ways to save their industry in light of the 20/20 olympics. For the 20/20 olympics, Japan’s government announced that it will double its overseas tourism. This number is said to reach 40 million, from 20 million in 2016. This will also double tourist spending to 8 trillion yen.

A Changing Japan

The prime minster Shinzo Abe has already implemented other policies that will change Japan. New government owned guest houses will be opened in parts of Tokyo. National parks will be remodelled. The airport immigration system will be revamped. All of these changes is to turn Japan into a tourist country.

These tourists will help ease some of the economic problems Japan might have with an aging population. They do this primarily by spending money. After all, young people is the main source of buying “stuff”. This spending is what helps Japan keep a high GDP.

What does this mean for the taxi industry?

With this influx of new tourism, Japan has to prepare more public transportation.Taxis have been in Japan for over a century now, starting with humble roots in 1912. Since Hinomaru started its taxi business back in the 1960’s, the company has been in the forefront of the taxi operation. One way the company has been a pioneer is starting a foreign taxi program.

Japan has made it extremely hard to for taxi companies to sponsor foreign nationalities.

What is a foreign taxi program? It is a program that allows foreign born residents in Japan to become taxi drivers. Japan has a long history of few immigrants and strict regulations. Because of this, few immigrants have become taxi drivers in the past.

However, with a taxi driver shortage, this has all changed.

Hinomaru in Action

Hinomaru has recently created a “Tokyo Sightseeing Taxi” program. This allows program will diversify the taxi program and increase the number of foreign speakers. More importantly, for these 1500 drivers, this opportunity is a special one. Foreigners now have a chance to make more money and have different job opportunities in Japan.

The drivers in this program come from a ray of different nationalities. While some are simply trying to make money, others are trying to help their families have a better life. However, this program isn’t just peaches and roses. Japan has made it extremely hard to for taxi companies to sponsor foreign nationalities, despite the fact only a few foreign born workers are needed to be hired each month. For now, most of workers in the program already have visas or are married to a Japanese national.

How will Japan change will an increasing foreign presence? For the government perspective at least, this change is good.

Today’s “otsumami” – a bite size snack:

Japan’s future seems to heavily relied on foreigners.

What do you think?

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