Business

Japan driving schools go full speed with lessons amid coronavirus scare

JIJI

Driving lessons for license holders who rarely drive have been seeing greater demand amid the COVID-19 epidemic as people seek to avoid using public transportation to get to work.

Paper Driver School Kitakanto in Maebashi, Gunma Prefecture, has received many applications from people who were told by their employers not to use trains when commuting to work.

“Unlike trains and buses, you don’t come into contact with others in a car,” school representative Michitoshi Sonoda said.

Students at the school for inexperienced drivers range from housewives to company employees.

At Paper Driver School Zero, which provides lessons for license holders in central Japan, some 10 percent of all students took up the course due to the spread of the new virus. In addition to those wishing to drive to work, people have signed up for reasons such as driving their children around and avoiding crowds.

School representative Kazuhiko Uetani said he was surprised at the many different kinds of reasons behind the spike in demand for lessons.

One student at the school, a man in his 40s, took a lesson Thursday after quitting his job at a hotel that had seen its business hit hard by the new coronavirus that causes COVID-19. He will have to drive at his new workplace, although he has had very little driving experience despite his almost 20 years as a license holder.

“I took the lesson because driving for the first time in a while is really scary, and I couldn’t possibly do it alone,” he said.

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