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airplanes are used only for 4.6 percent of all travel, as compared with 18 percent in the U.S.,
even in 1990.
Table 3.2 Share of Rail Transportation in Japan*
Year
Railroad
Automobile
Ship
1965
66.8
31.6
1970
1975
49.2
45.6
48.4
50.8
0.9
0.8
1.0
0.8
1.6
2.7
1980
40.2
55.2
0.8
3.8
1985
38.5
57.0
0.7
3.9
Airplane
1990
34.8
60.0
0.6
4.6
* The number represents the percentage of rail transportation in terms of passenger-km.
Source: Ministry of Transport, Rail Fact Book '96, Japan Transport Economics Research Center, Tokyo, 1996,
pp. 10-11. (in Japanese)
Japanese passenger railroad enterprises can be divided into six categories by
transportation type, main service areas, and ownership, according to the Ministry of Transport
as shown in Table 3.3. Six regional JR companies were created by privatization of the Japan
National Railway (JNR) in 1987, and these have offered intercity and commuter transportation
all over Japan. Because the Japanese Government which originally owned all of the stocks at
the time of privatization has since gradually released it, the stock of two JR companies is now
held jointly by private investors and the Japanese Government, while that of the five other
companies is still held only by the government. Fifteen large private companies have been
operating commuter trains in four major metropolitan areas, since the beginning of the century.
There are also many small private railroad enterprises which exist throughout the nation and
offer commuter and sightseeing trains. Thirty-six percent of the small private companies in
urban areas were created to take over branches of the JNR in smaller urban areas; these are
called the "Third Sector," and their stock is owned by local governments and private sectors.
Thirteen public transit agencies operate street cars and subways mostly for commuters, and
their stock is held only by local governments. Although Eidan, or the Teito Rapid Transit
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