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  5. Demonstration Plans under the Regulatory Sandbox Scheme Approved

Demonstration Plans under the Regulatory Sandbox Scheme Approved

- Demonstration for making use of mobile homes as accommodations, demonstrations for sharing services for electric kickboards, and public-road demonstrations for hybrid-electric bicycles -

October 17, 2019

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) newly approved four demonstration plans under the Regulatory Sandbox Scheme.

1. Utilization of the Demonstration Scheme for New Technologies (Regulatory Sandbox Scheme)

Under the Act of Special Measures for Productivity Improvement, which entered into force on June 6, 2018, the Demonstration Scheme for New Technologies (the so-called “Regulatory Sandbox Scheme”), was established to encourage companies to take advantage of new technologies or business models to promote business activities. As one of the efforts for promoting the regulatory reforms, this scheme aims to develop environments in which participation and test periods are limited to allow and encourage companies to rapidly conduct demonstrations of new technologies and business models outside the boundaries presented by existing regulations; and to produce documentation and information as outcomes of the demonstrations that will prompt regulatory reform.

Under this scheme, a party who intends to embark on a demonstration of new technology should prepare a Demonstration Plan of New Technologies and submit the plan to the competent ministers (the ministers with jurisdiction over businesses developing new technologies and the minister with jurisdiction over the regulations). Upon receiving the plan, the competent ministers should determine whether or not to approve the plan in consultation with the Innovative Technology/Business-model Evaluation Committee.

2. Outline of the companies’ plans and approval thereof

(1) Demonstration for making use of mobile homes as accommodations

This plan aims to conduct in situ market research using mobile homes  to address the current trend of diversified  public demand for alternative accommodation, through a test in which buses which have been modified into mobile homes, are rented out to users. The users can search for vacancies in a destination they wish to visit and the vehicles are stationary and cannot be driven or moved otherwise..

If companies are permitted to take advantage of the living space that mobile homes represent and to rent such spaces to not only overseas and other tourists in Japan but also to people who are searching for new experiences, such as people without driver’s licenses or who have a driver's license but never drive, the range of use of mobile homes is expected to expand and this can be one means of satisfying the recent diversification in demand for both accommodations and new experiences.

METI is the competent ministry with jurisdiction over this business, while the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) has jurisdiction over the regulations.

(2) Demonstrations for sharing services of electric kickboards (two plans)

These plans aim to: confirm the safety of electric kickboards as equipment, the safety of using them in proximity to traffic, the demand for such services, the feasibility of such businesses and other facts, through conducting a project aimed at creating sharing services for electric kickboards, which will be conducted on the limited premises of universities which contain pseudo-roads; and collect this information in order to file proposals for appropriate use-restrictions for electric kickboards on public roads.

These plans also uphold the future goal of achieving an environment where overseas tourists in Japan, Japanese residents and others are permitted to appropriately use electric kickboards to travel on public roads, on the premise that kickboard-applicable travel routes and areas are developed and that usage regulations and safety schemes are created governing those areas; and the goal of contributing to enhancing the efficiency of short-distance travel, attracting more tourists to regional areas and creating further benefits.

METI is the competent ministry with jurisdiction over this business, while the National Public Safety Commission and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism (MLIT) have jurisdiction over related regulations.

(3) Demonstration for public-road traveling of hybrid-electric bicycles

This plan aims to demonstrate the safety of public-road travel using hybrid-electric bicycles through a test in which hybrid-electrically-powered bicycles, which have been modified to be powered only by the kinetic energy created during their use, are rented out to users as rental bicycles which the users ride in dedicated bicycle lanes.

The plan also upholds a future goal of providing hybrid-electric bicycles in a manner where users are able to use them for short-distance daily travel, on the premise that such bicycles are powered only by the kinetic energy created during their use and that the bicycles can be classifies simply as “bicycles” and not as “motor vehicles”.

METI is the competent ministry with jurisdiction over the business, while the National Public Safety Commission and MLIT have jurisdiction over the regulations.

METI approved the four plans above. They are considered to have satisfied the requirements for approval under the provisions of Article 11 (4) of the Act of Special Measures for Productivity Improvement. For details of the approvals, see the Appendix in Japanese release, titled “Demonstration Plans and Overviews of the Demonstrations."

References:

Divisions in Charge

Note: Please contact MHLW concerning the Hotel Business Act, the National Public Safety Commission (the National Police Agency) concerning the Road Traffic Act, and MLIT concerning the Road Transport Vehicle Act.

(1) Information on the demonstration for making use of mobile homes as accommodations:
Cool Japan Policy Division, Commerce and Service Industry Policy Group

(2) Information on the demonstrations for sharing services for electric kickboards:
Lifestyle Industries Division, Manufacturing Industries Bureau

(3) Information on the public-road demonstrations for hybrid-electric bicycles: