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Japan: Govt to Help Transportation Services Introduce Reforms
Source: http://the-japan-news.com
Source Date: Saturday, July 01, 2017
Focus: Electronic and Mobile Government, ICT for MDGs, Knowledge Management in Government, Citizen Engagement, Institution and HR Management
Country: Japan
Created: Jul 07, 2017

The government plans to help the transportation industry resolve labor shortage problems, having established a cross-ministry and agency study panel at the end of June to tackle the issue.
This autumn, the government aims to compile an action plan that will include measures to improve conditions for drivers of transportation firms, who often have to work excessively long hours.
The government hopes the efforts of the panel will lead to a reform of labor practices in the industry.
Chaired by Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Kotaro Nogami, the study panel includes members from the Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry; the Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry; and the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry.
The study panel will examine two major industry issues: how to secure human resources and how to improve productivity.
The government aims to introduce policies put forward by the panel, possibly within the next five years.
Currently, the percentage of female drivers in the transportation industry is only about 2 percent, so there is scope to attract more women to the labor force.
The action plan will include practical measures to make it easier for women raising children to work as drivers. For example, establishing day care centers for children in transport company office buildings and encouraging firms to hire more short-haul drivers.
In reality, the many small and midsize companies in the industry do not have the resources to train drivers. To secure labor, the government will consider subsidizing the costs of getting a driver’s license for large vehicles that carry passengers for business purposes.
The government will also provide financial aid to companies that reduce staff workloads by having multiple drivers share duties on long-haul journeys. Firms that jointly operate transportation services to carry cargo more efficiently will also benefit from subsidies.
If time spent packing or sorting items for delivery in warehouses and other facilities is prolonged, drivers sometimes have idle periods while they are waiting for their cargo to be prepared. 
Therefore, the government will promote the use of information technology that would allow transportation firms to accurately monitor processes in facilities, such as warehouses, with the aim of reducing standby time.
The study panel will discuss assistance measures for not only trucking companies but also bus transportation and taxi companies.
If new or revised legislation is necessary to implement the measures, the government will aim to submit related bills in next year’s ordinary Diet session.
With the proliferation of online shopping services, cargo volumes handled by home delivery service companies have been increasing sharply.
The number of parcels handled by Yamato Transport Co. — the nation’s largest home delivery company — reached about 1.9 billion in fiscal 2016, its highest level ever. The company entrusted transportation of parcels it could not handle to other delivery companies.
Yamato Transport and Sagawa Express Co. have taken steps to address these changes, including raising their transportation service fees.
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