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VISA Q and A on FM COCOLO 76.5 MHz
International driver's license
 On Aired Data: Jul.4, 2000
Summary of the On Aired Program


Student from Australia


Our client will have to drive a car soon for voluntary work, and would like to know if it is illegal or not to drive with his/her Australian driver’s license. If it were illegal, he/she would like to know what to do to drive in Japan.

There are two types of authorized driver’s licenses in Japan; the International License and of course the Japanese license.

The international license is issued only by the home country of the holder and allows a driver to drive in any of the 90 signatory countries of the Geneva Treaty. The country members of the Geneva Treaty include Japan, the United States, the United Kingdom, South Korea, Australia and the Republic of the Philippines. In short, those who are the holder of a valid international license can drive the specific type of vehicle noted in the license anytime in Japan. However, you must be aware of its disadvantages. All international licenses are valid only for one year and it can only be extended and re-issued by the government agency of your home country, so it can never be extended here in Japan nor simply be exchanged to the license issued in Japan. And also, one can’t use the international license to serve as a proof of driving experience when you plan to request for a driver’s license issued locally in Japan.

To drive in Japan, the best choice maybe is to secure a Japanese driver’s license. The first thing one will need is a valid local license of the country he/she came from. Next is to pass a series of examination given by the Driver’s License Office in any of the prefecture, as traffic rules and regulations varies from one country to another. So, the exams are conducted to make sure that the driver understands the existing traffic laws in Japan. The series of exams is to test the fitness, knowledge and skills of the applicant. The 1st exam one must take is the so-called“Tekisei-shiken” from which the ability of the eyesight is attested. To check your knowledge on the implementing traffic rules in Japan, one is requested to take the written exams, which are available in six languages, Portuguese, English, Korean, Spanish, Chinese, Persian. And the last exam one needs to pass is the practical test, where the applicant needs to prove his/her driving skills and also manners when actually driving a vehicle. It maybe better to check your skills in maneuvering the vehicle in narrow roads which crowded most of the streets in Osaka.

Application for the Japanese driver’s license can be made at any prefectural Drivers License Examination Office. The required documents are the following:

1. original passport and its copy

2. alien registration card and its copy

3. a valid local license of your home country and its copy

4. an official Japanese translation of the content of your local license

5. One 3 x 2.4 cm photograph taken not within six months.

6. An amount of 5,200 yen for those who will drive the ordinary car and 6,100 yen for those who drives heavy vehicle and motorcycles.

We must also be aware of the following: the Japan Automobile Federation (JAF) must do either by the respective embassy or consulate or Japanese translation of the local license issued by your country. Otherwise, it will not be acknowledged. By the way, JAF charges 3,000 yen for the translation. Now, the breakdown of the 5,200 yen that you have to have on hand is as follows: examination fee takes 2,400 yen, renting the car for practical test costs 1,000 yen and the issuance of the license costs 1,800 yen.

There are two Driver’s License Offices in Osaka Prefecture, one in Kadoma and the other in Komyoike. The “Kadoma Untenn Menkyo Shikenjyou” is located at 23-16-1, Kadoma city. To get there, get off at Furukawa-bashi Station of the Keihan Line and take the Keihan bus bound to“Shiken Jyou Mae”. The telephone number is 06-6908-9121.

Now, the “Koumyouike Untenn Menkyo Shikenjyou” is located at 5-13-1, Fushiya-chou, Izumi City.Walk 400 m west from Komyoike station on the Senboku Kosoku Railway.Telephone number is 0725-56-1881.

Now, if you don’t possess any driver’s license at all, you got no other choice but to enroll in one of the driving schools here in Japan and pass the driver’s exam. Be aware that this will cost between 200,000 and 300,000 yen and it will take about a month in able to get the license.