Just a quick note to let you know about a significant change in the regulations for driving in Japan. Previously you could use an international permit in conjunction with your normal drivers licence for up to a year. Now, only 90 day tourists can use the international permit.
All others residing in Japan on any visa other than a 90 tourist visa, are required to get a Japanese licence asap.
This means that despite having a “valid” International Driving Permit, if you are caught driving in Japan more than 90 days since first arriving, you will be charged with unlicensed driving. This also voids all insurances and in the case of an accident means you will be entirely liable for all damages. This information has come to us from from the Australian Government, but applies equally to other nationalities. Penalties for unlicenced driving are significant and include being disqualified from holding a Japanese Drivers Licence for a period of twelve months, and a fine of ¥300,000.
Below is a link to the Australian Embassy website which contains more detailed information, and includes information on how to change your Australian Licence to a Japanese one: http://australia.or.jp/en/consular/driving/driving_in_japan.php
We strongly advise all local business operators to ensure that all staff are fully informed and properly licenced.
If you have any questions on this feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org