Table Speech

Initiation Speech

October 27, 2010

Mr. Koukei Higuchi
Mr. Ichiro Kawanabe


“Aiming to become the Best Taxi Service in the World”

Mr. Ichiro Kawanabe
President & CEO, Nihon Kotsu Co., Ltd.

 My speech today will be on the “the best taxi service in the world,” an accolade sought by the hired-car and taxi industry in Tokyo.

 According to the “world’s taxi ranking” announced this August by the website ‘’, Tokyo ranked No.3, following New York by a narrow margin. London ranked the best by a runaway lead. Our goal is now set to beat London.

 The No.1 merit given by taxi is “immediate availability.” The total number of taxis is 50,000 in Tokyo, 20,000 in London, 15,000 in Paris and 12,000 in New York. Thanks to our top per capita taxi number, cruising taxis are available on the spot in Tokyo, making it the most convenient city in the world. Thanks also to the advancement in digitized wireless technology introduced 5 years ago, taxi-dispatch efficiency has improved and its demand has increased to 140% in 10 years. The development of digital radio requires a fair amount of investment; obliging small companies to become franchised to larger companies. Technological development enhances reorganization of taxi companies in Tokyo, which exceed 300 in number.

 The second merit given by taxi is “competent service.” I am confident our taxis are superior to taxis in London, in terms of vehicle cleanliness and drivers’ manners. Our only weak point is unfamiliarity with local geography, despite our drivers’ going through classroom lectures and practical trainings for about a week.

 The third merit given by taxi is price. I assume many of you have the impression that taxis in Tokyo are expensive. According to the price gap survey between Japanese and overseas markets conducted by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, taxi fares in Tokyo proved to be cheaper among developed nations. London was more expensive. New York, Frankfurt and Paris were about the same level, thus making Tokyo cheaper as we do not require a tip. We are planning to introduce various services, such as a fixed-fare on a discount rate from newly-opened Haneda International Terminal, shared taxi service or cheaper base-fare zone.

 Taxi industry is said to suffer structural recession. It is true that the number of private automobile drivers outnumbers taxi users by 17 times. If one person stops using private car and starts using taxis, the taxi industry will double from the current 2-trillion-yen to a 4-trillion-yen market. We have a promising future as increasing number of private car drivers are switching to being taxi-users.

 In Japan, we have 400,000 taxi or hired-car drivers. Taking into account their families which total over 1 million, one person per 100 people in Japan earns his/her living in the hired-car or taxi industry. Our industry plays a significant role in the society by creating employments. I am determined to do my best to help the Tokyo taxi service be ranked No. 1 in the world. Let me conclude by asking for your continuous support and guidance.