As Tokyoites continue to rely on public transport to get around, train and taxi companies have put in place precautionary measures to help curb the spread of Covid-19. According to Kyodo News, Japan's transport ministry has now allowed taxi drivers to refuse customers not wearing face masks, unless they have a valid reason for keeping their face uncovered.
Under Japan's road transportation law, as enforced by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, taxi operators can only refuse service under certain circumstances, such as to customers who are extremely intoxicated or violent.
Ten Tokyo taxi companies requested the ministry change the rules to allow a 'no mask, no trip' policy, as tipsy passengers speaking loudly without their face masks could increase the risk of infection for drivers. The change was approved to protect both taxi drivers and any subsequent passengers. The decision was made in relation to Tokyo taxis, but it’s likely the government will allow taxi companies across the country to refuse service to bare-faced passengers if they want to.
Currently, taxi drivers in Japan are required to wear face masks, comply with body temperature checks and have their cars frequently disinfected.
Before you head out, check our guide on going out safely in Tokyo and Japan.