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Driving with an international driving license

 

Drivers are required to present both their passport and an international driving license.

 

*When foreign nationals registered on Japan’s Basic Resident Register (or Alien Registration) System drive in Japan with an international driving license, the following two conditions must be satisfied:

  • 1) Their international driving license shall be valid for one year from the date of re-entry, after spending at least three consecutive months overseas (not necessarily in the country or region where the permit was issued).

  • *In case they have returned to Japan less than three months after leaving Japan (i.e., less than three consecutive months, not a total of three months), the date of their return shall not be considered as the date of re-entry (from which the validity of an international driving license and a foreign driving license are calculated). 

  • 2) They shall have a valid international driving license, which expires one year from the date of issuance.

 

Both an international driving license issued by a signatory to the 1949 Geneva Convention (including two administrative regions) and a passport must be presented.

  • The latest list of signatories to the Geneva Convention (link to the official website of the Metropolitan Police Department)

  • *An international driving license issued in Japan cannot be used to drive in Japan.

An international driving license is valid for one year from the date of issuance (the date of issuance to be confirmed), and the period of validity for driving a car in Japan is one year from the date of entry into Japan (the date of entry to be confirmed with the entry stamp in the passport). Those with an international driving permit issued under different conventions – the 1926 Paris Convention, the 1943 Washington Convention and the 1968 Vienna Convention – are not allowed to drive in Japan.

 

 

About foreign driving licenses

If you have a domestic driving license of Switzerland, Germany, France, Taiwan, Belgium, Slovenia or Monaco, and its Japanese translation, you are allowed to drive in Japan for one year from the date of entry into Japan. Please take the following two documents and your passport with you to the office when you pick up the car.

 

A Japanese translation of the domestic driving license

The Japanese translation of the domestic driving license is issued by the embassy and consulate in Japan or the Japan Automobile Federation (JAF). For JAF, please click the link below.
A driving license issued in Taiwan must be accompanied by a translation by JAF or the East Asia Relations Commission.

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