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Home > English Home > Living in Miyazaki >Consultation Services(March, 2009)

Traffic rules and Automobile Ownership(August, 2009 )



Holidays such as Autumnal Equinox Day and Respect-for-the-Aged Day fall in September.  The Equinox, or “Autumnal Higan,” is a day to honor ancestors in Japan. In some areas, people make an offering of ohagi (rice cake made of both sweet and ordinary cooking rice covered with bean jam and soybean flour) to the deceased. With several holidays around this time, we will have many chances to get out and drive; thus, we ask that you obey traffic rules and safely enjoy yourself when driving. This month we will introduce some important rules and issues regarding car ownership.


<Traffic Rules>

Ban on Cell-Phone Use: Avoid talking on your cell-phone as well as sending text messages from your phone while driving.

Drunk Driving: Riding with a drunk driver, lending your car to a drunk individual, or simply serving alcohol to a potential drunk driver (this applies to restaurants as well) are all punishable by law. Riding a bicycle while intoxicated also qualifies as drunk driving.

Seatbelts: All passengers must buckle up when riding in a car. Back seat passengers will be fined only when failing to wear their seatbelt on the expressway; however, it is best to keep your seat belt fastened at all times for safety’s sake.

Child Seat Obligation: Children under the age of 6 must ride in a child seat at all times. Try to choose an adequate child seat related to your child’s growth.


<Automobile Ownership>

You are required to pay the following three taxes:

 1. Automobile Acquisition Tax: paid only once when purchasing a car.

 2. Automobile Weight Tax: levied according to the weight of the car; paid during inspections.

 3. Automobile Tax: paid by vehicle’s owner (as of April 1st) each year.

Proof of Parking (shako shomei): Those without a garage at their home should rent a parking space in their neighborhood. If you have a mini-vehicle (keisha), you will need to submit additional documents for mini-vehicle parking. Regardless, applications are accepted by the police station in your jurisdiction – a processing fee applies.

Vehicle Registration: All vehicles must have license plates; you can usually take care of this by going through the auto dealer – a fee applies.

Vehicle Inspection: New cars must undergo an initial inspection 3 years after purchase and subsequent inspections every 2 years after. The driver must carry the Inspection Certificate at all times while driving and display the Inspection Sticker on the front windshield. Fees vary by car size, etc.

Insurance: Compulsory insurance is required for all drivers. However, because compulsory insurance coverage is less than adequate, a more comprehensive optional insurance (nin’i no jidousha hoken) – while not required – is strongly recommended for driving in Japan.


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