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29.1.16

BUS OPERATORS * Japan Government: REVIEWING REGULATIONS

* Tokyo - Review starts on bus regulations following deadly ski bus crash

-- In response to the deadly Jan. 15 crash of a ski tour bus in Nagano Prefecture, the national government has started a review of regulations for bus operators... The transport ministry has set up a panel to consider tightening the screening process for entering the business, toughening penalties for violations of relevant laws, and stepping up checks on drivers’ skills... The tour bus industry is booming amid an increase in the number of foreign visitors to Japan... The number of chartered bus operators doubled from the fiscal 1998 level to 4,512 in fiscal 2013, after the road transportation law was revised in 2000 to lower the hurdle for new entries... Bus manufacturers are enjoying a flood of orders. According to Hino Motors Ltd., sales of large tour buses jumped from 447 units in fiscal 2011 to 877 in fiscal 2014... The wait time for delivery is now over one year... The Tokyo-based bus operator ESP, whose vehicle was involved in the Jan. 15 accident in Karuizawa, Nagano Prefecture, that left 15 people dead, is a newcomer, obtaining permission for chartered bus operations in 2014... A transport ministry special inspection following the accident found that the firm had violated a number of rules, such as failing to ensure that its drivers had the required health checkups... 
(Photo: Japan ski tour bus in Nagano crash kills 14, injures 27 - A bus lies after it veered off to the opposite lane on a mountain road in Karuizawa, Nagano prefecture, central Japan Friday, Jan. 15, 2016) -- Tokyo, Japan - The Japan Times - JAN 25, 2016

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