The transport ministry said Wednesday it intends to allow the operation of ride-hailing businesses involving private drivers in Tokyo, Kyoto and two other areas from April, with the Japanese versions of such services to be operated by taxi companies in state-designated time slots and zones.

While more areas could be included later, the service is expected to initially cover the capital's 23 wards, the cities of Musashino and Mitaka in western Tokyo, and the Keihin region centered on Yokohama. Additionally, it will encompass Nagoya along with its nearby municipalities, as well as Kyoto and its vicinity.

Japan's partial lifting of a ban on ride-hailing services will allow drivers with a standard license to offer taxi services using their own vehicles in areas and times when registered taxis are in short supply, on the condition the drivers are operating under the management of a taxi company.