Tokyo ward official beats taxi driver for not going way he told him to

TOKYO —

Police in Tokyo have arrested a Minato Ward assemblyman on suspicion of beating a taxi driver.

The suspect, Daisuke Akasaka, 44, has admitted to the crime and said he lost his temper because the driver wouldn’t go the way he told him to, Fuji TV reported.

According to police, the incident occurred at around midnight on July 14. Akasaka said he had been drinking before he got into the taxi.

A quarrel erupted between the assemblyman and the taxi driver over the route the driver had taken. After paying the fare, Akasaka got out and kicked the car. When the driver got out, Akasaka began beating him. Police said the driver suffered minor neck injuries in the altercation. 

Japan Today

  • -16

    Alex Einz

    I can definitely understand him... some of these drivers are unreal , rude and obnoxious. not worth getting in trouble over though.. I would just refuse to pay.

  • 16

    Kobe White Bar Owner

    Stubborn + stubborn + booze = trouble

  • -14

    Alex Einz

    no.. Customer booking a driver + Driver that is paid to drive and dont do as he told, but getting rude = trouble

  • 6

    Manny Pereira

    Not to condone his actions in anyway but the taxi drivers around Minato-ku love taking people the long way after midnight.

  • 9

    erbaviva

    happened to me. The driver decided to go around the bends and corners and did not go the way i told him, increasing the fare 1000yen more than the usual and i have to go home later becuase he choose the more crowded roads. I was really trying to hold my temper not to hit the driver.

  • 5

    sensei258

    the incident occurred at around midnight on July 14

    This happened more than six weeks ago and we're just now hearing about it. Why the delay, to give the politician a chance to do "damage control"?

  • 22

    Educator60

    To those who were so quick to condem the taxi driver:

    According to the Asahi, Akasaka told the driver to make a right turn at a spot where right turns are prohibited.

    運転手が指示通りに右折しなかったため口論になったという。指示した現場は右折禁止だった。

  • -15

    Alex Einz

    Educator60 .. so refuse to go.. and stop. Taxi driver job is to drive as he told, specifically that.. nothing else.. 99% think they are clever or try to trick you into paying more... its extremely annoying , and blatantly visible especially when you are a foreigner or seem a bit drunk. Caught them very often , and the proper ones apologize and remove the fare ... had few rude ones that needed a harsh talking and police threat.

  • 10

    Strangerland

    To those who were so quick to condem the taxi driver:

    It wouldn't be JT if someone wasn't blaming the victim. See Alex's post right after yours.

  • 12

    Thunderbird2

    Sounds like a wannabe gangster... hope the driver gets over it.

    @AlexEinz

    so refuse to go.. and stop. Taxi driver job is to drive as he told, specifically that.. nothing else...

    Not so... taxi drivers are offering a service... they are not your private chauffeur to beat like you're some kind of feudal lord..

  • -12

    Alex Einz

    I dont blame the victim... I blame the taxi driver.. he is the attacker .. there was no need for him to get out of the car.

  • 13

    Strangerland

    I dont blame the victim... I blame the taxi driver.. he is the attacker ..

    Did you not read the article:

    Police in Tokyo have arrested a Minato Ward assemblyman on suspicion of beating a taxi driver.

    The taxi driver was assaulted, he didn't do the assault.

    there was no need for him to get out of the car.

    And again, you obviously didn't read the article:

    After paying the fare, Akasaka got out and kicked the car.

    That's a pretty good reason to get out of the car.

    Keep on blaming the victim though if it makes you feel like a bigger person.

  • 12

    sf2k

    why are people thinking the taxi driver deserves to be beaten? That's messed

  • -3

    Disillusioned

    Yeah, you do have to be a bit taxi-wise in Japan. I always ask them to use the NAVI and choose the route myself even if I am not going far. I remember a terrible thing that happened to one of my friends a few years ago. He was in Roppongi and haled a taxi to go to Akasaka. He was a tad drunk and hadn't been in Japan for very long. The taxi took him to Asakusa about 15k away from where he wanted to go and it cost him over ¥10,000. And then, he had to get another taxi back to Akasaka, another ¥10,000. It was a very expensive mistake. In general, the taxi drivers in Tokyo and Chiba are pretty good, but there are quite a few desperados out there ready to leech a few extra bucks out of a drunk or uninitiated foreigner.

  • 3

    Koh Giaphuan

    is Uber available in japan?

  • 6

    nakanoguy01

    He was a tad drunk and hadn't been in Japan for very long. The taxi took him to Asakusa about 15k away from where he wanted to go and it cost him over ¥10,000. And then, he had to get another taxi back to Akasaka, another ¥10,000. It was a very expensive mistake. In general, the taxi drivers in Tokyo and Chiba are pretty good, but there are quite a few desperados out there ready to leech a few extra bucks out of a drunk or uninitiated foreigner.

    either your friend misspoke or the taxi driver misheard. either way, it seems more like a simple mistake than a leacherous taxi driver. and that fare, which i just took last week, is about 5,000 yen. so your "friend" could be embellishing his story to be humorous.

    for the most part, i have found tokyo taxi drivers to be polite, professional and diligent. better than most taxi drivers in other countries.

  • 10

    Educator60

    Strangerland at Aug. 30, 2016 - 03:51PM JST To those who were so quick to condem the taxi driver:

    "It wouldn't be JT if someone wasn't blaming the victim. See Alex's post right after yours."

    Ha ha, sometimes it verges on surreal!

    I take taxis a lot, never had one try to cheat me.

    My advice to people going out and getting drunk and being unable to properly pronounce or confirm the destination: before you get drunk, write down your destination legibly in Japanese (or have someone do it for you) and put it in your pocket. When you get in a taxi to go home try to remember the note in your pocket and give it to the driver.

  • 12

    Strangerland

    for the most part, i have found tokyo taxi drivers to be polite, professional and diligent. better than most taxi drivers in other countries.

    I agree fully. Taxi drivers overall are excellent in Japan. I've had a few notable incidents over the years, but they've been few and far between. The norm here are drivers who are courteous, with clean taxis, who take you the shortest route possible. I find they will often even confirm which route I prefer to go if there is more than one route that could be preferable.

  • -10

    Robinson Benzan

    In my humble opinion " thank you thank you thank you " for beating his ass we've been in Japan for a month now and twice that taxi driver has taken us for a "ride". One time in Nagasaki going to a hotel we've been before took the long way charged us an extra $5 , and here in Tokyo what was an 8 kilometer drive on mapquest turned into a $50 ride. The driver was even pointing out stuff that was obvious " oh look Tokyo dome " so much so that when we arrived at the destination the person we where supposed to meet got into an argument with him. When the " locals " warn you about this stuff ahead of time you know it's a problem Ps it's happened to us so often in our previous trips that sometimes when we tell a particular driver what happened before even they warn us!!!

  • 2

    John Sulzynski

    I've lived in Japan for about a decade, and have had a few (three or so) drivers in Tokyo try to take me for a long ride. Pissed? Of course, but not enough to beat the driver.

  • 0

    misunderstood

    Total power trip!!

  • 1

    sillygirl

    WTH? Entitled officials above the law when it come to assault and battery. Again, JT, let's start a crime section for civil servants, police, teachers.

  • 2

    Kobe White Bar Owner

    @Koh Giaphuan

    "is Uber available in japan?"

    Far too free market for Japan.

  • 1

    Strangerland

    WTH? Entitled officials above the law when it come to assault and battery.

    If he was above the law, he wouldn't have been arrested.

  • 5

    syarp

    We can evaluate a country by taxi chauffeurs attitude, Japan is first class. Customers are often rude.

  • 2

    Dan Lewis

    No need or excuse for the violence. But if the driver doesn't follow legal / reasonable orders, he doesn't deserve to be paid. Just get out of the taxi and walk away.

  • 3

    5SpeedRacer5

    I dont take taxis much, but when I do, the drivers have been excellent. Frankly, I am most appalled by acquaintances who seem to go ape-poop when a driver makes an honest mistake or whatever. One guy I was riding with went nuts on my cabbie when the cabbie went to where I told him to go. I was paying, and it was my mistake.It was foggy and I could not see exactly where we were. But this guy just went off on my cabbie and got all hot. It was bizarre. Whatever. I paid the cabbie the extra money and he tried to give it back. How could I take it when this guy I was with was all abusive?

    Let's be nice to anybody doing services, people. I don't want to live in a country where people abuse each other for the slightest.... slight. And hey, you aren't tipping. Pipe down and noblesse oblige. Or get your own car, tightwad.

    And don't get me started on Uber. I have talked to a lot of drivers and customers. Heard some good things and heard some horrible things. I would think that a nice boring taxi ride is what I want to pay for.

  • 4

    igloobuyer

    This speaks volumes of the elitist attitudes of politicians in Japan, and the attitude that 'if I have a higher social standing than you, I can yell at you and hit you when you piss me off'.

  • 0

    ThePBot

    The taxi driver might have been milking the meter, but in no way was it justified to beat him, or even kick the car, especially from an official. And what if the taxi driver was being genuine? I mean, can you really trust the judgment of a drunkard?

  • 4

    Guy Fawkes

    " thank you thank you thank you " for beating his ass

    Really? You're condoning violence? Pathetic.

    In my 15 years in Japan, not once did I have a problem with a taxi driver. Granted, I had taxi drivers who would drive away when they figured out I wanted a ride.

  • 2

    Black Sabbath

    I've never been taken for a ride by an unethical taxi driver in Japan.

  • 3

    mtuffizi

    never went into problem with taxi drivers in tokyo or kyoto. they are polite and better than drivers in many countries. no complaint.

  • 0

    gubijin

    My grandchild and I were in Tokyo this past spring, and had an awful experience hailing a cab in front of Loft in Yurakucho after 10:30 pm. We are both foreigners, but my Japanese is near native. I asked him to take us to a well known, in fact, landmark hotel in the Akasaka/Kioi cho area. In all my years of traveling in Tokyo, I never had any problems reaching this hotel from the Ginza area. The driver didn't know about the hotel, and asked for an address! I said Kioi Cho, but he didn't know how to input the info into his navigation system. Yurakucho/Ginza was packed with cars on a Friday night, so the meter kept ticking, and at 11:00 pm, hit the 30% overtime rate. I was fuming, but I noted the cab company name, and told another driver about the incident the next day. He gave me 4 of the reliable cab companies in Tokyo, his being one of them. Since then, I look for one of the 4 companies before hailing a cab. Guess that's the only recourse we gaijin would have.

  • 1

    timtak

    I have learnt lots of cool shortcuts from taxi drivers. They always know the fastest keast congested routes.

  • 2

    Strangerland

    if the driver doesn't follow legal / reasonable orders, he doesn't deserve to be paid.

    It wasn't a legal 'order', he was told to turn right where right turns aren't allowed.

  • 2

    5SpeedRacer5

    " my Japanese is near native. " "He gave me 4 of the reliable cab companies in Tokyo, his being one of them. Since then, I look for one of the 4 companies before hailing a cab. Guess that's the only recourse we gaijin would have."

    This kind of post always gives me a certain kind of feeling.... How shall I describe it? Let's just say it brings back memories.... I was sure that my Japanese was adequate, the world was against me and that there were a few wise people I could trust to guide me to their "reliable" care. And gosh it is hard to be a "gaijin." Allow me to aver that no, your solution is not the ONLY recourse a "gaijin would have."

    You know, bad things are going to happen. Things are going to get lost in translation. These drivers are not Nobel prize winners as most of us undoubtedly are. I don't read a whole lot into anything. At the end of the day, just pay the cabbie, people. Her job sucks. She does not know what is going on, but she is doing her best. She won't rob you. You don't have to tip her. The cab does not stink. You will not be reported to the police for your own drunken and despicable behavior. They are not surly. They wear uniforms and usually gloves for heaven's sake. They have almost a zero probability of being a convicted felon. They are usually well groomed and reserved. They don't get going with idiotic and offensive opinions and discussions. They speak A language that is identifiable. They are not going to take you to a souvenir shop or nag you about your vacation plans or offer you prostitutes or drugs or talk about growing up as a gang member. You won't get drugged a disappear. You won't be let out in a slum. And they won't tell you about their poverty or that they "used to be a lawyer in their home country."

    If avoiding all of that ICK costs an extra coin or two, it is a bargain. A BARGAIN. I admit to thinking that Japan is really too good for the 2020 Olympics. Does anybody else feel that way?

    I have many many bad taxi stories. Oddly enough they are ALL from other countries, and yes, some involve collisions with pregnant women. And running from the police after a collision. Being let off halfway to my destination while the cabbie runs from police. And that is all just in Las Vegas.

    Japan is taxi heaven, or as close as we can get to it. And you know, Malaysia is Malaysia, but I have nothing bad to say about their service. I felt very much at ease with Malaysian taxis.

  • 3

    Tokyo-Engr

    @ Robinson - sorry you had those experiences. Been here nearly 2 decades and have not had that type of experience. I have used taxis all over the country.

    You say "thank you" for beating him? What kind of person says such a thing?

    It sounds to me like an arrogant politician with an entitlement complex got violent and assaulted the driver.

  • 0

    DaDude

    If the guy is some sort of politician, it seems like he could flex his power a little bit and warn the driver and/or consult his company. Now this move will probably destroy his life and career all for something so minor.

  • 0

    Educator60

    DaDude at Aug. 31, 2016 - 01:48PM JST "If the guy is some sort of politician, it seems like he could flex his power a little bit and warn the driver and/or consult his company. "

    Well if he had done that he would have looked ridiculous for warning the driver for refusing to make a right turn at a spot where right turns are not permitted.

  • 0

    nfijapan

    the soon companies like Uber setup in Japan the better, price of all fares are listed before you even take the ride. No need to worry that your driver is going to take the long route. Drivers actually get you there as quickly as possible so they can get the next customer

  • 0

    John Beara

    Get uber then ????

  • 2

    Tokyo-Engr

    Oh yes..Uber...another corporation which is set up to drive down wages and does not pay benefits - heck they even forked over 100 million in lieu of providing benefits for employees - see below...

    http://www.recode.net/2016/4/21/11586330/uber-agrees-to-pay-100-million-to-avoid-paying-for-driver-benefits

    I would much rather pay a bit more to the unionized taxi drivers who have some type of social benefits. Been in Japan almost 20 years and have never been unhappy with a taxi driver here..

  • 0

    Mlodinow

    @John Beara, you will find that except for that one small town who's name I've forgotten, all Uber drivers in Japan are actually taxi drivers. They are black taxi drivers, which offer a higher standard of service, but still taxi drivers.

  • 0

    gubijin

    Speed Racer 55. Sorry, I meant to say "his cab was NOT one of the 4 reliable companies." On the other hand, I've had very good experiences as well. Most of the 'good' are from ex-professionals. Teachers, artists, salary men…they can carry on a good conversation, apologize every step of the way when turning on GPS, taking a sip of water, wearing a mask when he coughs, etc. Coming from U.S. these guys were unreal and very classy.

  • 0

    Outsider

    Sounds like the assemblyman needs to be in a different line of work.

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