Tourists in Tokyo warned against using unlicensed taxis as tourism surges, Latest Travel News - The New Paper

Tourists in Tokyo warned against using unlicensed taxis as tourism surges

As tourist numbers soar in Tokyo, Japan's government is stepping up efforts to educate visitors about the risks of unlicensed taxis, emphasising safety and legal concerns.

Japan's travel scene is getting a safety makeover!

With tourists flocking to Tokyo, the Japanese government is sounding the alarm on unlicensed taxis. Why the fuss? It's all about keeping you safe on your travels.

This isn’t just about catching a cab. It’s a snapshot of how Japan is balancing tradition with modern travel trends, all while keeping safety in the driver's seat.

Since early November, Japan’s transport ministry officials have been spotted at Narita Airport, dishing out fliers in English and Chinese. These aren't your regular travel brochures.

The Mainichi Shimbun reported that these fliers are warning globetrotters about the dangers of hopping into an unlicensed cab.

Tagged as "illegal and unsafe", these taxis could leave you high and dry if you get hurt during the ride as they might not be insured.

Now, how do you spot a legit taxi? It’s all in the license plate. Look for a taxi with a green license plate framed in green – that’s your ticket to a safe ride. White plates? Steer clear.

Mr Mitsuteru Yanase from the transport ministry's Chiba office has a simple message: “To ensure a safe travel, we want travellers to use authorised taxis and vehicles that are well managed.”

In a world where Uber and Grab have changed the game for getting around, Japan's still playing it old school. While you can use the Uber app in Japan, it's only for booking those green-plated, fully licensed taxis.

But, here's a twist.

Japan has been mulling over shaking things up in the ride-hailing scene. Faced with a taxi shortage in rural and tourist-heavy spots, voices within the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and ex-prime minister Yoshihide Suga are pushing for change.

Even Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is on board to discuss letting ride-hailing companies do their thing in Japan.

However, not everyone's thrilled. The local taxi industry is giving the side-eye to any new competition, while the transport ministry is treading carefully. Their worry list includes who's going to look after the drivers' health and keep those cars in tip-top shape.