Valid Driving License In Japan

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Japan Automobile Federation (JAF) accepts and publishes Japanese translations of foreign licenses at its branches nationwide, as designated by the National Public Safety Commission.

JAF is not in a position to decide whether or not you can drive using an International Driving Permit (IDP). Please contact the Driver's License Center of your area's prefectural police department for further information.

If you have any of the following licenses, you may drive in Japan.
Those not having one of the abovementioned licenses are not allowed to drive in Japan.

International Driving Permit (IDP)

IDP

Anyone with an International Driving Permit (IDP) issued abroad under the 1949 Geneva Convention on Road Traffic can drive a car in Japan in accordance with Japanese laws. IDPs issued in accordance with other treaties (such as the Vienna Convention) cannot be used in Japan even if it is issued by countries of the Geneva Convention.
For more information, including requirements for driving with an IDP, visit https://www.keishicho.metro.tokyo.jp/smph/multilingual/english/traffic_safety/drivers_licenses/index.html(Metropolitan Police Department).
The IDP is also introduced on https://internationaldrivingpermit.org/(FIA website)

JAF is not in a position to decide whether or not you can drive using an International Driving Permit (IDP). Please contact the Driver's License Center of your area's prefectural police department for further information.

Certain Other Country's Driver License + Japanese Translation

If you posess a driver's license issued in Switzerland, Germany, France, Belgium, Monaco, Estonia or Taiwan, and meet the following requirements, you will be allowed to drive in Japan.

IDP

  • 1. A Japanese translation prepared by an entity specified by law must be carried along with the original license.
    Entities allowed by law to prepare the translation of the driver's license are as follows:
    A) The issuing authority of the license, or the embassy or consulate of the issuing country in Japan
    B) Taiwan-Japan Relations Association for Taiwanese license
    C) Japan Automobile Federation (JAF)

Japanese Driving License (Transfer your country's license to a Japanese license)

A driver's license issued by a foreign administrative office can be switched to a Japanese license (hereinafter referred to as "Gaimen Kirikae") by applying to the Driver's License Center of your area's prefectural police department.

To apply for Gaimen Kirikae, applicants must fulfill the following two conditions:
  • 1) The applicant's foreign driver's license must be valid (expired licenses cannot be transferred)
  • 2) The applicant must be able to prove that he or she stayed in the issuing country for at least three months in total after obtaining the license

The following documents and items are required for the application procedure:
  • 1) Application form
  • 2) Applicant's photograph for application form
  • 3) An official copy of your "jumin-hyo" indicating your "honseki" (or your passport if not registered under the Resident Register System)
  • 4) National health insurance card, My Number card, residence card (to be presented)
  • 5) Driver's license issued by a foreign administrative office (not possible with an IDP alone)
  • 6) Japanese translation of foreign license (can be prepared at JAF branches nationwide)
  • 7) Documents such as a passports with entry and exit date stamps that can establish that you have stayed the country issuing the license for more three months or longer after acquiring the license
  • 8) Processing fee
    Please contact the Driver's License Center of your area's prefectural police department for further information.


The "Japanese translation of a foreign license" is one of the documents necessary to apply for Gaimen Kirikae. JAF accepts and publishes Japanese translations of foreign licenses at its branches nationwide. However, since some branches are not equipped for same-day service, please contact the branch in advance. Provision of the translation does not guarantee a successful Gaimen Kirikae process.
If you have any questions regarding Gaimen Kirikae, please contact your local Driver's License Center directly.

Learn more about "Japanese translation of a foreign license" here.

Period During Which a Person can Drive in Japan

  • 1) With Japanese driver's license: While valid
  • 2) With International Driving Permit or foreign driver's license: One year from the day when you entered Japan, or the validity period of the license, which ever is shorter (however, if a person recorded in the Resident Register System leaves Japan after receiving permission for departure or re-entery and returning to Japan in less than 3 months, the day of the return (re-entry) will not be regarded as the start date of the drivability period of the International Driving Permit, etc.)
    For further details, visit https://www.keishicho.metro.tokyo.jp/smph/multilingual/english/traffic_safety/drivers_licenses/index.html(Metropolitan Police Department).


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