Frequently Asked Car Questions
Please click on each item to see detailed information.
Under Japanese law, all registered vehicles must be covered by compulsory vehicle liability insurance. This compulsory insurance is very similar in concept to that mandated in other countries, and it is designed primarily to protect third parties from injury by any vehicle in an accident. Although compulsory insurance is effective, it is by no means adequate in providing coverage for the insured, property damage to third parties and it does not cover any repair or replacement for damage to the vehicle itself.
Voluntary insurance isn’t required by law, but it is highly recommended. Compulsory insurance provides some basic protection for other drivers on the road in the event of an accident, but voluntary insurance is designed to protect you and your investment by offering higher levels of coverage and covering more types of damages.
“Everyone is at fault” Liability Liability is one of the most notable differences between insurance in Japan and other countries; accidents here are almost never decided as entirely the fault of only one party unless one car was physically stationary. Liability here in Japan will always be divided between all parties at some level; anecdotally, this is often 80/20, but of course, it would depend a great deal on circumstances, location, etc. If a driver is involved in an accident and their car was moving, they will be held liable to some extent in almost all cases. This also explains why regardless of how small the accident is, if it involves another car, the police must always be contacted to come to the scene before both parties leave to have them fill in a report. This is required at all times. A driver’s Insurance firm’s role is to help negotiate their client’s portion of this liability as low as possible. But to assist them in this, they will require a full accident report including photos of the car and location. So always remember to take photos at the accident scene if physically possible.
The Automobile Tax is imposed both as a property and a road maintenance charge. A person who owns a vehicle at the point of 1st of April is required to pay the tax by 31st of May. For more detail, please check from here.
If your car is a Kei car, you can go to your municipal office at 税務課, to re-issue the bill. Kindly bring your car registration paper(Shakenshou) and show the following Japanese to their staff.「自動車税の納付書が届いておりません。納付書の再発行をお願い致します。」
If your car was a white plate, please bring your car registration paper to the Resource Center. We can arrange to call a road tax office to arrange a re-delivery.
Keep the receipt of the road tax because you will need it for JCI.
Yes. They are different types of taxes. Automobile tax/light-sized tax is levied by a local government(prefecture/municipalities), while the weight tax is levied by the central government. The weight tax is normally paid along with other costs when a car goes through compulsory bi-annual Shaken inspection(JCI), while automobile tax/light-sized vehicle tax must be paid separately by the owner in the beginning of every fiscal year. (usually the due is 31st May)
It varies from case to case. If the car needs repair to pass the inspection, it may take several days. It is possible to ask the service garage to provide you with a loaner car while your car is undergoing the inspection.
It is highly recommended that you get Voluntary Automobile Insurance from a private insurance company. The following insurance company has a branch office in Okinawa and an English-speaking agent.
CHUBB Insurance (English speaking agents: WILTEC)
Address:368 Sunabe, Chatan-cho, Nakagami-gun, Okinawa
Take a picture of your car registration paper and make it accessible on your phone. You will need your car information at some occasions such as ferry/parking bookings,car scrapping/etc. It definitely saves you from hassle.