A Tokyo bus operator has declared its desire to hire foreign drivers, hoping the move will prompt Japan to open up the job to people from abroad as the country grapples with a growing labor shortage in the public transport sector.

Tokyu Bus Corp. President Takashi Furukawa wants to set a precedent for fellow bus operators that are in desperate need of drivers, drawing on his experience working in Vietnam, where he once helped introduce Japanese know-how in running transportation services.

Furukawa acknowledges a host of challenges may lie ahead before the day finally comes when a foreign national can drive a bus for his roughly 2,000-employee company. It may not be an easy road but it's worth paving, he said.