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THE FUKUOKA District Court has ruled that the Japanese government cannot order a cab company to raise its prices.

The transport ministry told taxi operator Blue Zoo to raise its tariff – to stop excessive price-cutting – but judge Akihito Katayama said: “The government is not being rational as it is setting a price rate without taking into account the prices and business conditions of the taxi firm in any way.”

Judge Katayama added:

It is an overstepping of its discretionary power and it is illegal.

The ruling came after local transport department, the Kyushu District Transport Bureau, told taxi companies to charge a minimum base rate of Y670 (£5.14) up to 1.6km. Blue Zoo had been charging a Y310 (£2.38) fare up to 850 meters and had been told to raise their price.

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