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Travel News Japan cracking down on illegal taxis


Unswerving cyclist
14 Mar 2002
Japanese authorities are stepping up surveillance of unlicensed taxis at Narita Airport near Tokyo as a spike in the number of arrivals increases demand for transport into the capital.

  • Illegal taxis in Japan: The Japanese government warns tourists about illegal taxis that operate without a license and charge exorbitant fees. These taxis often target foreign visitors unfamiliar with the local transportation and language.
  • How to avoid illegal taxis: The government advises tourists to use only licensed taxis that display a green or yellow number plate and a taxi sign on the roof. Tourists should also check the fare meter and ask for a receipt. If they encounter any problems, they should report them to the police or the Consumer Affairs Agency.
  • How to find legal taxis: The government provides a website and a smartphone app to help tourists find legal taxis nearby. The website and the app are available in multiple languages, including English, Chinese, Korean, and Spanish. They also offer information on taxi fares, routes, and payment methods.

MLIT illegal taxi warning
Transport ministry officials handed out hundreds of fliers stating "Beware! Unlicensed taxis are illegal and unsafe!" in English and Chinese to arriving international visitors in early November at the airport in Chiba Prefecture. The fliers urge people to check the color of vehicle license plates as licensed taxis have green plates or plates with green frames. Unlicensed taxis have the white plates of private vehicles. It also warns that passengers may not be covered by insurance if injured while riding in an unauthorized taxi. "To ensure safe travel, we want travelers to use (authorized) taxis and hired vehicles that are well managed," said Mitsuteru Yanase, head of the transport ministry's Chiba branch office. Unlike overseas where ride-hailing operators, including Uber Technologies and Grab Holdings are widely used, Japan in principle bans such services that enable drivers of private vehicles to serve as unofficial taxis.

I wonder if private transportation services are considered to be illegal taxis.
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