View Full Version : Driving Thread, Part B [UK focus]

June 15th, 2004, 18:48
Hey, I know there was already a thread on this, but (urgently) needed some help from the fountain. This mainly applies to UK Jets, so sorry for letting my hands become so bloody with the sins of segregation:

I am wondering whether there is any point in me taking a UK driving test in the next week or so?

Is it true that an international drivers licenses lasts only a year and so if one were to stay for two years or more, then it is necessary to apply for a japanese driver's license? Can this be obtained WITHOUT a license from home? If so, is it difficult? Is it expensive?

Do the UK Jet's need to apply for an international driver's license, or is there no need?

If UK JETs DO need an international license...

Is it true that you need to have had your license for at least three months before arriving in Japan? If so, can someone from home keep your license for three months, apply and then send over the int. license?

If this is not possible, then surely there is no point in me taking a test in the next few weeks - I might as well, save the money and take the Japanese test instead, right??

I'd really appreciate some sound advice, as I've read 101 different takes on "driving in Japan".

Thanks, Luke :)

June 15th, 2004, 18:54
The UK licence can be exchanged for a japanese one, with a colour blindness / sight test. Whether the UK licence has to be 3 months old, i dont know, but we Brits certainly dont need an international one.


June 15th, 2004, 19:14
Just spoke to JET HQ and they say Brits DO need an Int. License. Hence earlier confusion...

June 15th, 2004, 20:00
time for the high priest to bestow his wisdom once more! :lol:

about taking your test now...as i understand it...its useless because you have to have had you license for 3 months to qualify for an international drivers license...not sure how it works to transfer a UK license to a Japanese, its just getting a rubber stamp i think but again, you will probably have needed to have held your license in you home country for a certain lenght of time to qualify...

also the international license is only valid for one year (and can't be renewed unless you leave the country for a certain lenght of time)

also also I think (but i'm ont 100%) that the IDL is a bit dodgy for us cos were not holidaying but living and working in Japan which I think makes it nul and void...

you can certainly apply for a jap license (without a UK one) and take the tests but according to the big daikon chaps its tough to pass and expensive. not what a yorkshireman likes to hear!

anyways, this website has some useful info and links to where you can get a IDL from 8) http://www.drivingpermit.co.uk

June 15th, 2004, 22:45
cheers m8y

June 15th, 2004, 23:43
this was taken from the CLAIR (Council of Local Authorities for international relations) website - their staff and foreign programme coordinators organize the orientations for JETs and sort out things between JETs and contracting organizations and translate things like new japanese laws and inform us as foreign workers in the country when changes happen that effect us....their word is official.


I am Canadian so sorry to say, I don't know much about UK JETs situation, but if on the CLAIR website you find a contact email on their homepage:


Here's what I pulled off...

Valid Driving Licenses
Changes have been made to the International Driving Permit (IDP) regulations, as of June 1st of last year.

The period in which one can use an IDP in Japan is one year from the date of entry into Japan or until the IDP expires, whichever comes first. However, after revision, the date of entry into Japan excludes any re-entry date for those (with Alien Registration) who leave Japan and re-enter Japan within three months.

Prior to June 1st, 2002, if an individual left and re-entered Japan within three months, the date of re-entry was considered to be the date of entry, thus driving on a renewed IDP was possible. However, this is no longer applicable. In effect, participants entering their second or third year will not be able to drive legally with an IDP. If you want to continue driving in
Japan, you will need to obtain a Japanese driver's license.

To obtain a Japanese driver's license, the individual must possess a valid driver's license issued by an overseas authority, contact the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Centre (menkyo shaken senta) of the Prefectural Police and pass the necessary examinations, which may involve a written test and/or practical road test. Please note that you may need proof that you have resided in the country where your overseas license was issued for at least three months (eg. documents such as a passport indicating period of stay). For more details concerning examination locations and times, application procedures, necessary documents, fees and examination languages, please contact your prefectural Driver and Vehicle Licensing Centre. Further, in some areas, it may take a long time to obtain a test appointment, so please start making preparations as soon as you decide to contract.

If you have a driving license from any of the following 21 countries, submission of documents and an eye examination only are needed to obtain the equivalent Japanese license:

France, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxemburg, United Kingdom, Denmark, Ireland, Greece, Spain, Portugal, Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Finland, Australia, New Zealand, Austria., and Canada

Please note that holders of licenses issued in France, Germany and Switzerland may only drive in Japan for one year after their arrival without an IDP, by using their valid home country license and an official Japanese translation (which JAF can provide).

Optional Automobile Insurance

In the event of a car accident resulting in injury to another party due to negligence on your part, the amount of compensation to the victim(s) can reach an astronomical sum. The compulsory third-party automobile liability insurance (jibai seki hoken) may not cover the total amount of compensation required. Therefore, in addition to compulsory liability insurance, it is strongly recommended that you take out optional/voluntary insurance (ninni no jidosha hoken) to cover the costs that compulsory insurance does not. Please check to see which insurance policies you are covered by.

Rules of the Road
It is your responsibility to be aware of the rules of the road. To obtain a copy of the Rules of the Road manual, please contact:

JAF (Japan Automobile Federation) Headquarters
Shiba-koen 3-5-8, Minato-ku, Tokyo-to 105-0011
(Tel: 03-3436-2811) http://www.jaf.or.jp/e/list.htm

The book is available in English, Korean, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese and Persian and costs 1000 yen (tax included), plus postage.

June 23rd, 2004, 21:51
:) I just found out my newcomer is from the UK!! My husband's is also, but she doesn't have a liscence period so she'll be carless for now. That's too bad, because having a car for 3 years in Masuda at least was VERY helpful to say the least! Helped the social existence and visiting friends in nearby inaka towns.

Not sure about my incoming bloke though. Sent an email and called him, but he's graduating this week so he's a bit busy. Figure waiting until beginning of July to see if he wants a car or not is fair, after that, we'd like to make a sale final somewhere, so we can help the new owner with paperwork and make sure everything is set up for them to start driving and leave the country with at least half of the cash in hand (it's a bit of money so we will set up a wire transfer at the post office for the last half that the buyer can complete after their first paycheque in August. That's how it has worked before in Shimane with other cars and such, so seems to work!!

If all else fails, a number of current JETs are looking for cars as well after surviving a year unsuccessfully on trains....good cause you can enjoy yourself and have a drink but sucky when the last train home is at 9:30 pm!!!!

So keep this thread alive with information you found out by contacting clair or jaf or someone and we'll keep on passing down the info!!!!

June 23rd, 2004, 21:57
thats one hell of a typing arm youve got there partner!

Sorry did I just hijack this post?

:roll: theres always one


June 29th, 2004, 01:41
:wink: you heard "another postcard" by the Barenaked ladies yet? it's all about your chimpy ways! :D

I just am helping UK JETs get their info about liscences and driving and all that because....

I actually thought I'd have a good chance of selling my car to my incoming (who is from the UK) unfortunately his is from a metropolitan area and doesn't have a liscence. So my partner is also a JET and we figure, no problem, we should be able to sell our car to their incoming, but she is from big city UK and doesn't have a liscence.

So I'm thinking a lot of big city UK non drivers if posted to the middle of not quite b.F. nowhere but so close you're rubbing against it (or at least catch a whiff) - sorry that was too graphic.... -

that they should arm themselves with a liscence that they can transfer over to an international one so they can enjoy the fine life of the countryside and be able to escape it at their leisure without having to come home ont he last train at 7:32....

:cry: i do love my honda civic though if anyone wants to show it a good home instant message me, we will have to abandon it in a rice field forever....(actually not, it's a great car but if no one wants it, you have to pay to have it stored or crushed...and it's not ready to die yet...it just got new winter tires to go to ski resorts this winter....)

anyways, so my lament goes

little black civic
oh how good you've been to me
i promise to cherish your memory
wherever you'll be :cry: