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Asia Uber/Lyft Policy

Under Pressure, Uber Tries New Approach in Japan

Last week, 20 Uber executives from around the world flew to Tokyo for a two-day, secret meeting on one of the company’s top priorities: How to work with taxis to crack Japan’s transportation market.

Uber is hoping to make a major push in Japan, a country where it desperately wants to succeed after ceding China to Didi Chuxing and Southeast Asia to Grab. But it needs a new strategy, since private cars in Japan are barred from picking up paying passengers. To capture a portion of Japan’s $15 billion taxi market, Uber is trying to partner with some of the country’s thousands of taxi operators. So far, it has made little headway.

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Even if Uber finds taxi partners, it will face competition from Didi, which has its own ambitions in Japan.