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Government draft report reveals Japan’s plans to promote Level 4 autonomous driving nationwide by fiscal year 2025


The Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
A Level 4 autonomous electric vehicle is on display in Eiheiji, Fukui Prefecture.

The government plans to promote Level 4 autonomous driving – self-driving vehicles that drive under specific conditions – nationwide by 2025, according to a draft report on the government’s digital administrative and tax reforms.

The draft report, which was unveiled on Tuesday, also said the government will begin discussions on allowing bus, train and other transport companies to participate in the ride-sharing services sector, in which members of the public use their own cars to take paid rides to offer.

The draft report is expected to be officially adopted as early as next week at a meeting on digital administrative and fiscal reforms led by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.

Digitalization is one of the key policies of the Kishida government.

The draft report emphasizes that the government will make maximum use of digital technology to implement social reforms to cope with a rapidly shrinking population. It also outlines a plan to promote overhaul of both budgets and regulations in transportation, child care, medical care and other areas.

Accelerating the commercialization of self-driving vehicles is a pillar of the transport sector reform plan. The government aims to establish, or formulate a plan for their operation, year-round automated buses and other vehicles in all prefectures by 2025.

According to the government, the autonomous driving system has been rolled out on general roads at only 16 locations across the country as of May 1, and Level 4 operations are being carried out at only one location.

The draft report also calls for shortening the screening process required for the introduction of autonomous driving from the current duration of approximately 11 months to two months.

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