Japan to pull a U-turn on ride-sharing ban in bid to fill transport gaps in rural areas

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says the government plans to promote ride-sharing services that are currently banned in most areas to help improve the availability of transportation in rural areas.

“It is necessary to review the current system from the standpoint of (transportation service) users,” Abe said Thursday at a meeting to discuss growth strategies and structural reform measures.

The legal revisions required for deregulation would also allow taxi operators, which have opposed ride-sharing, to engage in the management of such operations, government officials said.

Ride-sharing services that match drivers of private vehicles with people seeking transportation are prohibited in Japan except in areas where no public transportation is available. Where such services are available they can only be used by local residents and are typically managed by local governments and nonprofit organizations.