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Licence to drive in Japan?

 
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elizabeth



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 28

PostPosted: Mon Feb 03, 2003 11:44 pm    Post subject: Licence to drive in Japan? Reply with quote

I will be arriving in Japan shortly and will have access to a car. What am I required to do to be able to drive in Japan? I am a British citizen. If possible I would have prefered to do this from outwith Japan?

Thanks for any info.
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PAULH



Joined: 28 Jan 2003
Posts: 4672
Location: Western Japan

PostPosted: Tue Feb 04, 2003 12:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Elizabeth

you can drive on an international licence for up to a year in Japan, and if you wish to continue driving eventually you will need a Japanese drivers licence. You can do this by going to a JAF office, and getting an official translation of your British licence. You then go to a driving testing center, pay a fee of several thousand yen, take a short eyesight test, may be have to listen to a lecture about safe driving in japanese and then they will issue you a Japanese licence. Procedures vary depending on area but that is the way I got mine (Im in Kansai).
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David W



Joined: 17 Jan 2003
Posts: 457
Location: Japan

PostPosted: Tue Feb 04, 2003 2:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nobody can seem to give a definitive answer as to whether you have to take a practical test or not. When I went in to inquire about getting my Japanese drivers license, the first two questions I was asked were "Where are you from?" (Australia) and "How long have you had your license in your home country?" (12 years at that time). That should give you some idea as to how it works. Because we (Japan, Australia and Britain) all drive on the same side of the road it seems the Japanese authorities only want to practically test applicants from countries where they drive on the wrong Wink side of the road.
Be aware though that the Japanese bureaucracy works in mysterious ways and rules are often not hard and fast. Just because someone in another prefecture with the same circumstances as you had to take a practical test it doesn't mean you will have to. I say all this as you want to avoid taking the practical test if possible as it is notoriously difficult to pass. It seems as if you must automatically fail a few times before they will pass you. Good luck.
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