The transport ministry is looking to support the practical implementation of flying cars by subsidizing the construction costs of the country's first vertiports — takeoff and landing sites — built by local governments and private companies.

The ministry will cover up to 50% of construction expenses, with a cap of ¥50 million ($313,500) per site. Following the completion and operational testing of these facilities, the ministry plans to develop guidelines for the construction of future vertiports as early as in the fiscal year beginning April 2026.

The initiative will select four sites through an open application process and will accept submissions until July 12. Eligible entities include municipalities and private enterprises that will be responsible for establishing, managing and operating the vertiports.

These facilities will comprise areas for takeoff and landing, taxiways, parking zones, hangars, charging stations and passenger waiting lounges. The construction of these facilities is expected to be completed by the end of fiscal 2024, with trial flights scheduled for the following year.

Post-construction, each vertiport will gather data on the operation and utilization of its facilities to identify construction challenges and necessary improvements. This data will be reflected in the development of the new guidelines, which will outline optimal facility layouts and standards for hangar and passenger lounge sizes.

Flying cars, also known as electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) vehicles, hold significant potential for a diverse range of applications, including emergency medical transport, travel to remote islands and mountainous regions, and urban taxi services.

Local governments are already working on roadmaps to facilitate the practical use of flying cars, envisioning potential future routes and operations.

Translated by The Japan Times