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Difficulties In Getting Japanese Drivers' Licenses

Author: Tokio Ohska, Issue: December 2005, Topic: Cars

The Tsukuba International Network (TIN) is an organization of representatives from various research institutes and other organizations (including the Alien Times) that deal with the needs of foreign residents in Tsukuba that has been working together for several years to help solve problems foreigners face. One aspect of long-term life in Tsukuba that not only has not improved but in fact has gotten worse in recent years is the hassle involved in obtaining a Japanese drivers' license.

Numerous foreign residents who have considerable driving experience in their home countries end up failing the driving test here in Japan due to not following the "proper" rules. A good example is that the Japanese traffic regulations state that a driver is to physically look under the car to make sure nothing (like a child, animal, etc.) is there prior to getting in to start up the car. Have you ever seen anybody actually do that in actual practice? We can all think of certain situations where that would be a good thing to do, but it is not something that is normally followed. Yet, if you don't go through the motions with this (and several other such practices) during your driving test, you are failed on the spot. And since you cannot retake the test for at least a month thereafter, it may take quite some time (and a lot of expense and hassle) to get a license.

Tokio Kenneth OHSKA, who heads up TIN, is trying to get a list of the specific reasons people have failed the driving test in order to help people get prepared so that they can get through the process with less frustration and hassle. If you have had such experiences and would be willing to share them to help in this project, please send them to tokio.ohska(at)kek.jp

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