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HOME  > Past issues  > 2007 November 21 - 27  > Government takes measures to curb intense taxi competition
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2007 November 21 - 27 [LABOR]

Government takes measures to curb intense taxi competition

November 21, 2007
The Transport Ministry on November 20 announced the introduction of a system of setting limits to the new entry of taxi companies as well as increases in the number of taxies in order to deal with increasing traffic accidents and the deteriorating working conditions of taxi drivers caused by the intense competition in the taxi industry.

Behind this move are efforts of taxi drivers, management, and the Japanese Communist Party Dietmembers’ Group demanding a drastic change in the government deregulation policy that has neglected safety concerns.

The ministry on the same day designated six cities, including Sapporo and Hiroshima, as zones to which such limits are to be imposed.

The new system will be applied to cities with a population of more than 300,000 in which concerns are being voiced over worsening working conditions of drivers due to the excessive number of taxis. Under the new system, taxi companies must pass examinations regarding their legal compliance as well as their drivers’ working conditions before they receive permission to enter into the industry or to increase the number of taxis. The minimum number of taxis that a newly established taxi company has to possess was raised from five to 20.

Among the six cities, Sendai will be designated next January as a zone in which new entries and increases in the number of taxis are prohibited on the grounds of a marked increase in accidents and the worsening of drivers’ working conditions, the second area in the country to be designated as such after the main island of Okinawa.

While conducting field surveys, the JCP in the Diet has demanded that the government put an end to the deregulation policy and take emergency measures.

Imamura Tenji, secretary general of the All Japan Federation of Automobile Transport Workers’ Unions (Jiko-soren), pointed out that the new government system still lacks objective standards regarding the number of taxis to ensure safety and that the union has to prevent a rush of new entries before the system is implemented. The union will make further effort to make taxis more safe and accessible to users, he said. - Akahata, November 21, 2007
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