The Car Sharing Situation in Japan

Japan has always been an innovative country. Their outputs in all the industries that are involved in always seem to drive towards progression and better efficiency. It can be seen with how they release car models year after year and in every year, the designs they apply and execute seem to produce less and less pollution as well as improve the fuel efficiency of these vehicles. This is great but no matter what they do, the roads that these vehicles pass will never expand as fast as car ownership growth so with this being said, there had to be something done to alleviate a potential major traffic crisis in Japan. Their answer was to start car sharing in their country.

By skinnylawyer (Rachel So) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

The Reason for the Car Sharing Service in Japan and the Car Market Share Situation during 2014 and 2015

There is no doubt that having a car can give you a great advantage because of the mobility and freedom it offers you. You get to drive anywhere you want at any time you want because you are able to travel long distances without waiting for the next bus or train to come pick you up before you go on your way. Despite all these great perks you get from having a car, there are also a lot of negative things that come from it.

By User Minesweeper on en.wikipedia (Minesweeper) [GFDL ( or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Considering how fast a person can get a car as compared to how fast a 100-meter road extension can be constructed, it is pretty clear where the problem lies. You can keep building more roads to be able to accommodate more cars but if you look at it long term, you will realize that you are running a race that has already been decided because no matter how great your construction technology may be, it would probably be impossible to match the rate at which cars are manufactured and sold every year. The land which these roads stand upon is also limited so it means that there is an inevitable end to the road expansions you can actually create.

In the year of 2014 and 2015 alone, there were about 10 million new cars sold in Japan. This 10 million doesn’t even consider the cars sold from the decade before that and to have a car as old as 5-10 years is pretty common so you can already expect that the 10 million could potentially increase by double or even triple if you take in these facts.  This study for new cars sold includes the cars sold by the biggest automobile manufacturers like Toyota, Honda, Suzuki, Daihatsu, Nissan, Subaru, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Isuzu, and even BMW. With all these factors being taken into consideration, it can easily be seen that this car sharing service is a necessity in Japan. It provides access for people to make use other people’s cars that are not in use even for just a day or so and that is big because you get the perks of having a car minus the expense of buying it and maintaining it.

As a leaser of the car, it is also beneficial because you gain some income or yen from something that you most likely do not use every day since Japan does have one of the best public transportation systems in the whole world. It also happens to be a great way to cut carbon dioxide emissions as proven in a survey done by the Eco-Mo Foundation in 2012 wherein the results showed that the average carbon dioxide emissions per household were lessened to 0.42 tons from 0.76 tons per year by simply making use of the car sharing system present in Japan.

The Car Sharing in Japan that Happens in Places and the Car Sharing Companies

By 根川孝太郎 (Kotaro Negawa) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], from Wikimedia Commons

Car sharing is not new to Japan at all. Companies like the Car Sharing Japan Co. Ltd, which is a subsidiary of Mitsui Fudosan Realty Co., Ltd, has been providing services in Kanagawa, Tokyo, Chiba, and Saitama since the year of 2008. Nowadays, the number of brands and companies that provide this service has increased tremendously and the existing brands have leveled up their game by improving their services as well with the help of the latest technology and other businesses.

A perfect example of a car-sharing company that has leveled up their services with the use of technology is Orix. They are considered to be the 2nd biggest player in the car sharing industry of Japan. In the past months, they announced that they will innovate the car sharing in Japan by being the first company to enable users to subscribe to their services fully through an online application. In their announcement, they shared that after logging in the website, subscription process would take no longer than 10 minutes and it would include a membership card that would be delivered to you in a span of two weeks. The world today is very technological so this move by Orix is a great move to pull in more users and to make their system more user-friendly.

Another company that has the same idea in mind is Nissan but the technology they decided to incorporate with their car sharing service is unlike the one Orix used. Nissan is known for their efficient electric cars so this is the avenue they took to draw people into their brand of service. In an announcement they made during the latter part of December 2017, they made it known that they would start the “e-share mobi”. Just like its name suggests, it is a car sharing service allows users to use their priced electric cars as the shared cars. Not only does this lessen road traffic, it also addressed the pollution problem because these electric cars have zero carbon dioxide emission so it is a great bonus for earth-lovers or users who are looking to save the world in their own little way.

Not all the companies improved their services with the use of technology though and this is proven by the moves made by Car Sharing Japan Co. Ltd. While their competitors look into integrating the car-sharing service with things like cellular phone applications, they are looking into increasing the coverage of their services. For the longest time, the scope or area of their services was limited to the greater Tokyo but in recent updates, they notified the public that they will be expanding their coverage to greater Osaka as well. It’s only a matter of time before they will be able to serve areas like Yokohama and the islands of Okinawa as well.

Evidence that Car Sharing is accepted and supported in Japan

Chris 73 / Wikimedia Commons [GFDL 1.3 ( or CC BY-SA 3.0 (], from Wikimedia Commons

In the year of 2009, there were only 6,396 people and 563 vehicles that were registered for car-sharing services in Japan. 5 years later, specifically in the year of 2014, these numbers increased to 465, 280 people and 12, 373 vehicles and they continue to increase as the recent years passed as well. In a span of 5 years, it was able to increase its usage and capacity by over 1000 percent and that isn’t an easy task to accomplish as a business. With this said, it was evident that the people saw an importance to the service they were providing and this acceptance and support was seen in the overall growth of the business. In other words, if it wasn’t something that clicked with the people of Japan, it would not have grown into the massive success that it was.

It created quite an impact on the world of business that even the Asian stock market, particularly the Japanese market, was influenced by it. The Nikkei or the Japanese stock index has increased a lot throughout the years and a reason why it did was that the companies involved in the car sharing industry were able to reel in some big investors due to the successful reception of the car sharing system. It was ecological and economical so even international business companies like Bloomberg were taking notice of the effects.

Japan doesn’t have a republic anymore but if there were still one in Japan, it would not be surprising to see their head pushing this system even more because of its efficiency and practicality especially in a place that Japan where you really wouldn’t need a car every day. People always talk about how the earth should be saved and the implementation of this scheme on a massive scale could very well be a great step towards that direction. You can expect this system to be innovated even more in the years to come and hopefully it creates the change needed to improve transportation networks on a global scale.