In every country I've been in - save for Japan - cars have their mirrors on their doors. Even most cars in Japan do but the taxis don't. Any ideas as to why? It just seems strange. Here's a pic:
Compare to this:
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Thanks @Doc for the useful link at Japan Times.
The main reason taxi drivers prefer fender mirrors is that they provide better visibility,” Osuga explained. “There is less of a blind spot so it’s easier to confirm what is happening at the rear and side of the car, especially on the driver’s side.”
Another advantage of fender mirrors compared to door mirrors is they protrude less from the body of the car, which can really help when maneuvering in Japan’s narrow roads and crowded traffic. “Those centimeters may not matter for the average driver,” Osuga allowed. “But for professional drivers, who are behind the wheel all day, it makes a big difference.”
Finally, taxi drivers feel that fender mirrors allow their customers greater privacy because drivers can use the mirrors without turning their head toward the passenger seat. “There’s no way to use side-door mirrors without turning your head significantly to the side,” Osuga explained. “That motion might be misconstrued as an effort to look into the back seat, in a way that would invade the customer’s privacy. To avoid that possibility, and to extend as much privacy as possible to their customers, professional drivers prefer fender mirrors, which they can use without turning their head.”
We use fender mirrors on our support vans for bicycle tours. They have one huge advantage in that they show us what is right next to and just behind our shoulders on both sides of the vans. These areas are blind spots with the door mirrors and require taking your eyes off the road ahead to swivel around and look. And I imagine with the longer hood of the taxi, this improvement would be even greater than on our vans.