JCI inspection - Shaken(車検)

What is Japanese Compulsory Insurance inspection?

Although the term "Japanese Compulsory Insurance Inspection" may sound a bit confusing, it is a car inspection that consists of several procedures to complete the whole inspection;

  1. Compulsory biennial vehicle inspection
  2. Compulsory vehicle liability insurance purchase (which is good for 2 years)
  3. Biennial weight tax payment

A vehicle inspection (shaken or JCI inspection) is a compulsory inspection for all vehicles on the road in Japan that must be conducted every 2 years. It ensures that all vehicles on the road are properly maintained and safe to drive. The inspection also checks that vehicles have not been illegally modified. Along with the inspection, payments for Japanese Compulsory Insurance (JCI, or compulsory vehicle liability insurance) and weight tax for the upcoming 2 years must be made. It's illegal to drive vehicles in Japan without having this inspection complex carried out.

The inspection must be carried out at an authorized service garage or at the inspection centre located in Urasoe city. Inspection and maintenance services can also be found at most car dealers.

If you are asking a service garage or a car dealer to carry out the inspection on your behalf,  the service garage or the dealer will normally provide you with an estimate including the maintenance fees and agent fee, etc. before they proceed with the inspection.

If you are carrying out the inspection by yourself at the inspection centre, you will need to make sure the vehicle is in a condition to pass the inspection and buy compulsory vehicle liability insurance from an insurance company before visiting the inspection centre. It may be a good idea to have the vehicle thoroughly checked by a mechanic for a small fee before going to the inspection centre to make sure the vehicle is likely to pass the inspection, otherwise, you will end up going back and forth to the inspection centre in case the vehicle is not in the condition to pass the inspection.

How to check when the car is due for the inspection

The inspection expires every 2 years. To check when your car is due for the next inspection, please check the expiry date of the current inspection on the JCI inspection certificate.

The expiry date is in this format: year(in the Japanese Calendar)/month/day

Western Calendar Years Japanese Calendar Years
2024 令和6年
2023 令和5年
2022 令和4年(or 平成34年)
2021 令和3年(or 平成33年)
2020 令和2年(or 平成32年)
2019 令和元年(or 平成31年)
2018 平成30年

 

Required Documents and Items:

  • JCI inspection certificate (自動車検査証):

This document should be kept in the vehicle and contains information about the vehicle and its registered owner, as well as the date when the current shaken/JCI expires.

  • Road tax payment receipt (自動車税納税証明書):

Road tax is supposed to be paid by the owner of the vehicle in May every year. Make sure to keep all the receipts for the road tax payments. *What is this?

  • Certificate of compulsory vehicle liability insurance (自賠責保険証書):

If you are carrying out the inspection by yourself at the inspection centre, make sure to buy new vehicle liability insurance at one of the insurance companies for the upcoming 2 years before visiting the inspection centre, and bring the new insurance certificate along with the expiring insurance certificate to the inspection centre. This vehicle liability insurance can be purchased at one of the insurance companies' offices located across the road from the inspection centre.

  • Inkan (personal seal):

Inkan(personal seal) which you used when purchasing the car.

Break down of Shaken costs

The  costs for the inspection can be classified into two categories below:

  • The basic charge for the inspection:

This is basically the cost to be paid to the third party to carry out the inspection(if you are using any) beforehand to make sure the vehicle is in the condition to pass the inspection at the inspection centre.

  • Law-regulated expenses:

These expenses are the expenses to be paid at the inspection centre. The expenses include biennial weight tax payment, and compulsory vehicle liability insurance, etc.

If you are using a third party such as a service garage to carry out the inspection on your behalf, both of the above costs have to be paid through a service garage.

If you are carrying out the inspection by yourself at the inspection centre, you only need to pay the law-regulated expenses when carrying out the inspection at the inspection centre.

Break down of the inspection costs:

Please be noted that this information was made based on the information as of January 2021.

The prices shown below are a rough estimate. Some prices may vary depending on the service you are using.

Basic charges for Shaken/JCI inspection (prices vary from garage to garage)
Law-regulated 24th-month inspection fee Approx. 20,000JPY
Safety standards conformity inspection fee Approx. 10,000JPY
Agent fee Approx. 10,000JPY

*Maintenance fees and other costs may be required on top of the above costs if the vehicle is not in a condition to pass the inspection.

Law-regulated expenses (fixed) for cars younger than 13 years old
Item Kei-cars Cars weighing 1 ton or less Cars weighing more than 1 ton Cars weighing more than 1.5 tons
Automobile weight tax 6,600 16,400 24,600 32,800
Compulsory vehicle liability insurance 11,200
Revenue stamp fee 1,100* 1,200** 1,200*** 1,200***

*1,400 if carrying out the inspection by yourself at the inspection centre

**1,700 if carrying out the inspection by yourself at the inspection centre

***1,800 if carrying out the inspection by yourself at the inspection centre

The areas to be checked during the Shaken inspection:

  • Exterior

The vehicle must meet Japanese exterior regulations and not have illegal exterior modifications, such as extreme body kits that increase the exterior dimensions

  • Wheel Alignment

The vehicle’s wheels must be in-line and able to turn correctly

  • Speedometer Inspection

The vehicle’s speedometer must be accurate

  • Headlamp Inspection

The vehicle’s headlights must be correctly placed and aligned

  • Brake Inspection

The vehicle’s brakes must work correctly

  • Exhaust Gas/Muffler Inspection

Tests carbon monoxide and hydrocarbon emissions along with exhaust noise level

  • Undercarriage Inspection

Inspects suspension parts and checks for rust

Should a car not meet any of the test standards, repairs must be made before carrying out the inspection.

English speaking and nearby garages

List of English speaking and nearby car garages

 

FAQ

Q. What is Compulsory insurance?

A. Compulsory vehicle liability insurance

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.

Q. How long does inspection take?

A. It varies from case to case. If the car needs repairment 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.

Q. I pay automobile/light-sized vechile tax every year. Do I still have to pay weight tax which is listed as one of the shaken costs?

A. 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)