Author Topic: That fun get a Japanese Driver's License game!  (Read 92224 times)

Offline Croninokehige

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Re: That fun get a Japanese Driver's License game!
« Reply #570 on: June 18, 2013, 06:12:17 PM »

I'm in a similar position, but my license hadn't expired yet (it actually expires three days after my license interview). Figuring they might be suspicious, I was just going to bring both my old and renewed licenses since they have the old issue date and new expiration date, respectively.  I got my renewed license after I did the translation though. Now, they might tell me that I need to have my new license translated and throw a kink into everything...

By "current" though, I would believe they mean the state of licensure rather than the physical possession of the current card, so I would still say "yes" bottom-line.


This is exactly how I'd do it. Say yes on the form, but bring both licenses, and if they ask about the discrepancy show them both and explain that it was just a matter of paperwork. The reason they ask that question is just to make sure that you have a bit of experience driving-- not someone who has only been behind the wheel like once or twice in their life. It shouldn't be much of a problem, I don't think.

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Re: That fun get a Japanese Driver's License game!
« Reply #571 on: June 21, 2013, 02:32:35 PM »
Hey everyone, I JUST got this from someone I know and apparently it is possible to get an official copy of your comings and goings internationally. Hopefully this will kill the whole issue of no exit/entry stamps in your home country.
You can get your JTE to help you fill out the attached form ( 000099268.pdf) and send it to

法務省大臣官房秘書課個人情報保護係
〒100-8977 東京都千代田区霞が関1-1-1

You can call them on 03-3580-4111, extension 2034 if you have questions
Normal working days, 9-12, 1-5

You will need to add a 300 revenue stamp (SHUUNYUU INSHI) from the post office to the form and a send in a proof of your identity. I would say go overboard and send in a copy (front and back) of your gaijin card and also a copy of all the pertinent photo and visa pages of your passport.

It can apparently take upto a month. I had to use the same form for something different (not the entry/exit stamps)and it took me 3 weeks to get it.
If you guys do use it, could you help me make a step by step guide to what is needed to fill it out? There is a japanese version attached (000099297.pdf)

More information is here
http://www.moj.go.jp/hisho/bunsho/hisho02_00016.html


Conor -  The best explanation that I have heard of for the 3 month thing is to stop people going for a one - two month holiday and getting a licence abroad more easily and at a much cheaper price than in Japan. 3 months usually means that you have been living there.

Offline Croninokehige

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Re: That fun get a Japanese Driver's License game!
« Reply #572 on: June 21, 2013, 02:57:33 PM »
Conor -  The best explanation that I have heard of for the 3 month thing is to stop people going for a one - two month holiday and getting a licence abroad more easily and at a much cheaper price than in Japan. 3 months usually means that you have been living there.

I thought the worry about international licenses wasn't a cheap/easy one, it was a forged one. Like, go to Thailand, come back $100 poorer but with a Kentucky driver's license kinda thing

Offline Terranasaurus Rex

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Re: That fun get a Japanese Driver's License game!
« Reply #573 on: June 21, 2013, 03:09:37 PM »
I have a really complicated question that I kind of doubt anyone knows the answer to, but I plan on figuring it out one way or the other in the next month.

So I am going back to the States. If I come back to Japan while my Japanese license is still valid it is apparently totally okay to drive on that license. I can simply take it to my local police office and get a new card with my new address on it. The thing is, I don't currently have a scooter/bike provision on my current license. (Nope, not even a scooter one, we checked.)

However, if I were to take a motorcycle course during the 2 years I'm in the states and come back with a NEW international permit WITH the motorcycle certification, would that be enough to just add a scooter/bike provision to my current license? Or would I have to go through the whole interview/testing process again to get a new license with the allowance? Or would I STILL need to take the Japanese-only bike course?

On that same line, does anyone know what people have to do to add the certification to drive a manual if they took the test in an automatic?
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Offline Croninokehige

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Re: That fun get a Japanese Driver's License game!
« Reply #574 on: June 21, 2013, 04:08:03 PM »
This is pure conjecture, but I think for the motorcycle one, with the right translated documentation, you'd be in the clear and as long as the license were still valid they could update it. However, for the manual versus automatic thing, I think you're out of luck and would have to take the test in manual to be cleared on that. The reason for this is that there isn't any distinction between manual and automatic in the states; your license to drive a car is a license to drive a car, even if you can't tell the clutch from the brakes. I drive stick at home but since I didn't have a stickshift here I said the hell with it and just got the license for automatic so I didn't have to worry about gear shifting issues in the driving center cars. But I couldn't just go to the US and get a "manual certification" to bring back to Japan because we just don't have those. I think if you want to drive a manual in Japan as an American license holder, you're gonna have to take the test in a manual in Japan.

But that's just logic speaking and we know how far that goes in this place.

Offline kelloggs

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Re: That fun get a Japanese Driver's License game!
« Reply #575 on: June 25, 2013, 10:33:09 AM »
I had my driving interview yesterday (passed without a hitch-- woohoo!) and just thought I would let folks know that, along with all the documents mentioned in the driving guide that you need to bring, I'd also recommend that people bring their city residency certificate. I don't have it in front of me now, so I don't know what it's called in Japanese (and might not be able to read all the kanji even if I did), but it should be a document that your city hall gave you when you first moved to your town. I had no idea that I was supposed to bring it, but the officer who conducted my interview told me it was ok and that I just couldn't forget it when I come for the practical test. What a relief that I didn't automatically fail the interview just for that!  :-D

The posts on this thread and the driving guide have been super, super helpful throughout this process, so a big thanks to everyone who has contributed. If an updated driving guide is posted in the near future, it'd be great to include a mention of the residency certificate just so people aren't surprised when it's potentially brought up during the interview.
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Offline aMandarinAlmond

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Re: That fun get a Japanese Driver's License game!
« Reply #576 on: June 25, 2013, 11:37:50 AM »
I had my driving interview yesterday (passed without a hitch-- woohoo!) and just thought I would let folks know that, along with all the documents mentioned in the driving guide that you need to bring, I'd also recommend that people bring their city residency certificate. I don't have it in front of me now, so I don't know what it's called in Japanese (and might not be able to read all the kanji even if I did), but it should be a document that your city hall gave you when you first moved to your town. I had no idea that I was supposed to bring it, but the officer who conducted my interview told me it was ok and that I just couldn't forget it when I come for the practical test. What a relief that I didn't automatically fail the interview just for that!  :-D

The posts on this thread and the driving guide have been super, super helpful throughout this process, so a big thanks to everyone who has contributed. If an updated driving guide is posted in the near future, it'd be great to include a mention of the residency certificate just so people aren't surprised when it's potentially brought up during the interview.


Yes, you need the juminhyo. You can get it from your City Hall.

Also had the interview last week. Thankfully passed, but the officer told me I needed to translate my other license for the driving test since the one I translated is now technically expired.

Online fred

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Re: That fun get a Japanese Driver's License game!
« Reply #577 on: June 25, 2013, 12:10:21 PM »

The posts on this thread and the driving guide have been super, super helpful throughout this process, so a big thanks to everyone who has contributed. If an updated driving guide is posted in the near future, it'd be great to include a mention of the residency certificate just so people aren't surprised when it's potentially brought up during the interview.

Good post. Terra and I spent quite a while getting that guide up-to-date and personally, I feel that it is good, but there are little things that are missing, making it far from perfect.
Come the summer, when most people have got their licenses, I intend to go over the guide again and add all the stuff that people have added in the last year. So please please ask questions or post about stuff that we haven't covered so that we can include it.

Offline andypj1

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Re: That fun get a Japanese Driver's License game!
« Reply #578 on: July 18, 2013, 11:13:05 AM »
Interview passed!  ~though my wife did not~

For Emily it was is a matter of getting more acceptable proof that she was in the US for one year during the most resent renewal of her license.  I had my family scan and email her pay stubs from 2011 and she is going to bring those to the J-DMV today.  My interviewer was actually super nice and I was joking with him the whole interview.  My wife got a cop who was much more 'by the books' and he even interrupted our interview a few times with questions about Emily.  My interviewer rolled his eyes.  I could tell that he was thinking, "Come on dude, just pass her already." 
The paperwork snafu should be easily remedied today and we scheduled our test for next week.

Does someone have the name and phone number for the Brazilian instructor? 

I figured we will use multiple instructors and just start with him.  I anticipate failing at least 2 times, so my strategy is to use different instructors in the hopes that one of them will put in a good word for us. 

On to the written and practical!

Offline aMandarinAlmond

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Re: That fun get a Japanese Driver's License game!
« Reply #579 on: July 18, 2013, 11:50:28 AM »
My wife got a cop who was much more 'by the books' and he even interrupted our interview a few times with questions about Emily.  My interviewer rolled his eyes.  I could tell that he was thinking, "Come on dude, just pass her already." 

Congrats, Andy!

Sorry about Emily's interview though :/ I'm assuming she's stuck until they clear it up?
What did her interviewer look like? I'm sure there are quite a few stern, by-the-book officers there aside from my test proctor last week though. Still slightly bitter. Not so much as a smile (or smirk) the whole time we interacted with him.

Offline kelloggs

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Re: That fun get a Japanese Driver's License game!
« Reply #580 on: July 18, 2013, 02:14:56 PM »
Interview passed!  ~though my wife did not~

For Emily it was is a matter of getting more acceptable proof that she was in the US for one year during the most resent renewal of her license.  I had my family scan and email her pay stubs from 2011 and she is going to bring those to the J-DMV today.  My interviewer was actually super nice and I was joking with him the whole interview.  My wife got a cop who was much more 'by the books' and he even interrupted our interview a few times with questions about Emily.  My interviewer rolled his eyes.  I could tell that he was thinking, "Come on dude, just pass her already." 
The paperwork snafu should be easily remedied today and we scheduled our test for next week.

Does someone have the name and phone number for the Brazilian instructor? 

I figured we will use multiple instructors and just start with him.  I anticipate failing at least 2 times, so my strategy is to use different instructors in the hopes that one of them will put in a good word for us. 

On to the written and practical!

That sounds like the guy I got. Super friendly to both me and my supervisor and was happy to joke around a little. This whole license process is so completely up to chance and dependent on who you're partnered with for the tests. Hopefully all the stars and planets will be aligned in my favor when I take the practical next week.  :wink:

Andy, I don't know anything about the Brazillian guy, but I've been taking lessons with an awesome guy who's not listed in the driving guide. He doesn't speak English, per se, but he'll use very basic English instructions (turn right, check such and such, etc.) and has been really helpful and understanding. We speak Japanese together, so I don't know if other people with less Japanese ability will find him as great as I do, but the friend who recommended this guy speaks little Japanese and passed the test on his first try. The hubster will also use this instructor and I'm sure he'll have no problems with the lessons.
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Offline Croninokehige

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Re: That fun get a Japanese Driver's License game!
« Reply #581 on: July 18, 2013, 02:33:54 PM »
  I anticipate failing at least 2 times, so my strategy is to use different instructors in the hopes that one of them will put in a good word for us. 

There really isn't any reason to assume this. If they ask how many hours of practice you've had, give a vague answer like "several" or "a lot, but I don't remember exactly". I took just one lesson in order to learn the order of the course and passed on my first shot. It's not difficult, but the important thing is not to think of it as driving; it's more of a complicated dance or game of Simon Says or something. Do exactly the things you're supposed to do at the exact right point in the course (i.e., a completely fabricated and unrealistic driving situation, unlike the state of action and reaction you should actually be in) and you should be fine. No joke, I think you'll have an advantage because of all the video games you play, I think it helped me.

Online fred

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Re: That fun get a Japanese Driver's License game!
« Reply #582 on: July 18, 2013, 02:37:34 PM »
Kelly, give us his details and I'll add him to the next revision of the guide.

Offline kelloggs

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Re: That fun get a Japanese Driver's License game!
« Reply #583 on: July 18, 2013, 02:53:27 PM »
Kelly, give us his details and I'll add him to the next revision of the guide.

Hideki Kyoshima
055-287-9880 or 090-4174-4683 (cell)
kyoshima.jidosha.kyoshujo@gmail.com
ï¿¥6000/hour

Tell him Kelly sent'cha!  :-D
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Online fred

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Re: That fun get a Japanese Driver's License game!
« Reply #584 on: July 18, 2013, 03:45:04 PM »
Thanks!!!

Offline andypj1

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Re: That fun get a Japanese Driver's License game!
« Reply #585 on: July 18, 2013, 06:59:40 PM »
Lame sauce.

So Emily dropped off a full year of pay stubs I had scanned and emailed last night (which they told us would be fine) and the cop decided to call an audible.  She also had a business card on her with the company and her bosses name on it but was told that the cop has to ask his supervisor to see if they will accept what he said was acceptable yesterday.

Joy.

I'm no usually one for griping but the flip flopping with both Emily and her JTE about the paperwork really bakes my bacon.

Offline karta

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Re: That fun get a Japanese Driver's License game!
« Reply #586 on: July 19, 2013, 12:51:44 PM »
Lame sauce.

So Emily dropped off a full year of pay stubs I had scanned and emailed last night (which they told us would be fine) and the cop decided to call an audible.  She also had a business card on her with the company and her bosses name on it but was told that the cop has to ask his supervisor to see if they will accept what he said was acceptable yesterday.

Joy.

I'm no usually one for griping but the flip flopping with both Emily and her JTE about the paperwork really bakes my bacon.

Go figure.
Before I went, they told my JTE over the phone that I needed to have a letter from the KY DMV showing that I had a driving record since I was 16.  I needed to show it to not have to have a green driving sticker (not a big deal, but still).  So, I brought a letter from the KY DMV which included my clean driving record from forever ago.  When I got there, letter in hand, they literally tossed the letter aside and said "英語読めない” (I can't read English).  It was not only really rude, but what did they expect a letter from an DMV in America to look like?  Of course it's going to be in English.  It ended up that I didn't need it anyway.  Lots of trouble and a bad attitude for nothing.

Offline thomas86

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Re: That fun get a Japanese Driver's License game!
« Reply #587 on: July 19, 2013, 04:32:42 PM »
Hello everyone. Yesterday I had my interview and was happy to get my license :-) I would like to thank everyone for all the helpful information. I’m one of the lucky ones that aren’t required to do a test but having the correct paperwork was a bit hit and miss. I was lucky as I think the man was a little embarrassed that he was 30 minutes late therefore the interview went smoothly.
Having no departure stamps on my passport I was required to get a letter from the NZ embassy to show my travel history. I was not to open the envelope until the interview. In the interview they didn’t use this as evidence and instead used photo copies of school grades which I brought just in case.
He didn’t give me any strange questions except he was fascinated that we use our own car for the driving test. This led to which make, what colour and why didn’t you have any lessons apart from ones from your family.
The hardest part of the day was waiting for five hours and watching at least 15 people learn that they had failed. To all the people who are about to have their interview or test good luck! Thursday might be the day to go as it seemed that only the locals were getting bad news.

Offline andypj1

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Re: That fun get a Japanese Driver's License game!
« Reply #588 on: July 20, 2013, 05:00:15 PM »
Quick question for those that have taken the practical test.

When do they tell you which course they want you to drive?  Is it when you get in the car or when you get to the center before your test?

Offline lilypad

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Re: That fun get a Japanese Driver's License game!
« Reply #589 on: July 22, 2013, 01:29:34 AM »
It's decided right before the test begins (though before going down to the course and getting in the car).  You do the eye check and paper work stuff, then are asked to sit in a waiting area.  At some point, if I recall properly, they have some pick a card/ball/something out of a box and it will either have an A, B, or C on it. That determines the course you will have to drive.

Offline andypj1

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Re: That fun get a Japanese Driver's License game!
« Reply #590 on: July 23, 2013, 05:11:42 PM »
Thanks for the info!

Praise God!!  Emily's paperwork was accepted so it looks like we won't have to have anything mailed from the US to confirm that she's been driving for a year in the states and the scanned pay stubs from her old work would be acceptable.  Three Huzzahs for not having to put a beginners sticker on our Demio and paying extra on our car insurance!!

Now on to the practical and eye test this thursday :)

Offline aMandarinAlmond

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Re: That fun get a Japanese Driver's License game!
« Reply #591 on: July 24, 2013, 10:51:21 AM »
Guess I'll see you there on Thursday!

Offline andypj1

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Re: That fun get a Japanese Driver's License game!
« Reply #592 on: July 26, 2013, 12:15:04 AM »
Amanda, Emily and I all failed  :x

I was really hoping Amanda would pass.  I have to say that other than a strange situation that I ran into with the stoplight changing on me at the wrong time, the other two ladies should have passed.

Again, lame sauce.

Oh well.  Time to grease the wheels of the Japanese bureaucracy yet again (x2 for both Emily and I) and get some more lessons. 

Offline mike

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Re: That fun get a Japanese Driver's License game!
« Reply #593 on: July 26, 2013, 11:10:05 AM »
I passed the driving test.  The first try there were 5 people.  It was the first time for me and one other.  No one passed (I and the other first timer did quite well, I'd say better than the others).  The second time there were also five people, again two first-timers.  I was the only one that passed.  So the pass rate was 1/10...

When I went downstairs to get my license, they insisted that there was a problem with my name on my materials - but all of it matched (well, Japanese documents and my passport with last name first, foreign documents with first name first) and it was prepared exactly as was requested and as I've seen recommended.  This resulted me in getting a green (new driver) license.  I asked my BoE to help me get it worked out, but they said that I drive a leased car so I don't need the sticker and it's a non-issue.  At least I have my license, though!  Thanks for the tips everyone.

Offline aMandarinAlmond

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Re: That fun get a Japanese Driver's License game!
« Reply #594 on: July 26, 2013, 11:20:24 AM »
Amanda, Emily and I all failed  :x

I was really hoping Amanda would pass.  I have to say that other than a strange situation that I ran into with the stoplight changing on me at the wrong time, the other two ladies should have passed.

Again, lame sauce.

Oh well.  Time to grease the wheels of the Japanese bureaucracy yet again (x2 for both Emily and I) and get some more lessons. 

Seriously. I thought I'd passed, too. I'm worried though that even with an extra lesson, the same proctor would find a way to fail me anyway (I'm praying that somehow he won't be the proctor next time...). He ominously pointed out at reception that my permit expires soon... Oh well. It will be expired by the time I take it again next week. Back to riding my bike in the heat (TnT )


FYI you can apparently go too slow on curves or he just wanted to find some BS to fail me again. WTF!

Offline Jotham

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Re: That fun get a Japanese Driver's License game!
« Reply #595 on: July 26, 2013, 01:23:11 PM »
In our test in the UK you can definitely fail for driving too slow. They say it's a sign of under-confidence. 
Wouldn't it be nice, to get on with my neighbours!

Offline kelloggs

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Re: That fun get a Japanese Driver's License game!
« Reply #596 on: July 26, 2013, 02:51:32 PM »
I passed the driving test.  The first try there were 5 people.  It was the first time for me and one other.  No one passed (I and the other first timer did quite well, I'd say better than the others).  The second time there were also five people, again two first-timers.  I was the only one that passed.  So the pass rate was 1/10...

When I went downstairs to get my license, they insisted that there was a problem with my name on my materials - but all of it matched (well, Japanese documents and my passport with last name first, foreign documents with first name first) and it was prepared exactly as was requested and as I've seen recommended.  This resulted me in getting a green (new driver) license.  I asked my BoE to help me get it worked out, but they said that I drive a leased car so I don't need the sticker and it's a non-issue.  At least I have my license, though!  Thanks for the tips everyone.

I went into the test feeling nervous but also pretty sure that I would pass since I had taken 6 hours of lessons and assumed that I had paid a more than adequate amount of money into the system to make them happy, and I still failed. I know that I made some mistakes, but I really wonder if they have a pass/fail quota...

Mike, I still don't understand what the problem was with your name on the documents. That was one of the most confusing moments I've ever had in Japan. Why would the way your name is written have anything to do with getting the beginner driver sticker?  :? :x :|
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Offline andypj1

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Re: That fun get a Japanese Driver's License game!
« Reply #597 on: July 26, 2013, 06:42:01 PM »
I passed the driving test.  The first try there were 5 people.  It was the first time for me and one other.  No one passed (I and the other first timer did quite well, I'd say better than the others).  The second time there were also five people, again two first-timers.  I was the only one that passed.  So the pass rate was 1/10...

When I went downstairs to get my license, they insisted that there was a problem with my name on my materials - but all of it matched (well, Japanese documents and my passport with last name first, foreign documents with first name first) and it was prepared exactly as was requested and as I've seen recommended.  This resulted me in getting a green (new driver) license.  I asked my BoE to help me get it worked out, but they said that I drive a leased car so I don't need the sticker and it's a non-issue.  At least I have my license, though!  Thanks for the tips everyone.

I went into the test feeling nervous but also pretty sure that I would pass since I had taken 6 hours of lessons and assumed that I had paid a more than adequate amount of money into the system to make them happy, and I still failed. I know that I made some mistakes, but I really wonder if they have a pass/fail quota...

Mike, I still don't understand what the problem was with your name on the documents. That was one of the most confusing moments I've ever had in Japan. Why would the way your name is written have anything to do with getting the beginner driver sticker?  :? :x :|

So here is the theory as to why they would give him the beginners sticker.  You have to prove by documentation that you drove in America under the same name as you use in Japan because that is the only way they can cross verify that the same person that is in Japan did indeed live and drive legally for a year in their home country.

I would say that is going to be near impossible to fight because of a simple clerical error between US and JP documents.  My understanding is that once you drive for a year in Japan, you no longer have to use the beginner sticker on your car.  Does anyone have any more details on that issue?

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Re: That fun get a Japanese Driver's License game!
« Reply #598 on: July 26, 2013, 07:31:08 PM »
Aha.. that may make sense. We go by first name, last name and they go by last name, first name. However, surely everything including your visa runs from the data in your passport?

As for the young drivers sticker. You will need to place the green/yellow chevron on both the front and back of your car for a year after you have gained your license. You can remove it after that.
If you are a beginner, you will have a green licence. If you have satisfied the driving at home for over a year during your interview, you will get a blue licence and not need to display the mark.
Having a green or blue licence does not affect the cost of your secondary car insurance. However, if you get a gold licence, then you will get a discount.


Offline Jotham

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Re: That fun get a Japanese Driver's License game!
« Reply #599 on: July 26, 2013, 09:22:28 PM »
Got my UK licence in 2005. Came to Japan and I got a green licence back in 2007. Went back to UK for 2-3 years so had to do the whole process again this time round. During the interview they had my old questions next to them and cross referenced all the same answers (yes it was a green car that I passed my test in, yes my driving instructor's name was ...(quick peep at the old answers)...dave??) .
So this time round I had a total of 7-8 years driving plus one of those was in japan with a japanese licence but still got a green licence again???
Not too bothered but it does mean I'll have to wait for my gold for an extra year  :|
Wouldn't it be nice, to get on with my neighbours!