The Metropolitan Police Department and local police raided hotels and operators of duty-free stores July 10 for operating unlicensed tourist bus services in violation of the Land Transport Law, police sources said.

This is the first full-fledged police action taken against unlicensed tourist bus operators, whose services are believed to be widely used by visitors from overseas. According to an MPD investigation, Koushin Shinju, a duty-free store operator, and three other companies were charged with carrying Taiwanese and other Asian tourists aboard 31 buses from April through June without a license from the Transport Ministry.

The tourists were driven from their hotels to popular destinations and New Tokyo International Airport in Narita, Chiba Prefecture. Koushin Shinju runs duty-free shops selling pearls and electronic appliances in Tokyo, Osaka, Fukuoka and Naha, Okinawa Prefecture, the sources said.

The companies used large buses to transport the tourists, charging a one-day charter fee of about 50,000 yen, roughly one-half to one-third of the normal cost, they said. Police suspect Koushin Shinju and the other three duty-free store operators were offering tourists the use of unlicensed bus services to help them reduce travel expenses, the sources said.

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