Motor Vehicle Inspection in Japan

Motor Vehicle Inspection in Japan

Motor Vehicle Inspection in Japan



Legal Requirements for Operation:

No motor vehicle, that is subject to inspection can be operated unless it has undergone inspection conducted by the Ministry of Transport (or by the Light motor Vehicle Inspection organization authorized by the Ministry in the case of mini-sized motor vehicles) and is provided with a motor vehicle inspection certificate.


Motor vehicles are subject to Inspection:

Besides the motor vehicles that are subject to registration, three-wheeled/four/wheeled mini-sized motor vehicles and small-motorcycle are obligated to undergo inspection.

As of the end of December 1996, motor vehicles that are subject to undergo inspection totaled 52.29 million, and this represents an increase of 15.09 million during the preceding decade.


Types of Inspection:

Major types of inspection are as follows:

  • Initial Inspection: Insection to be performed when a motor vehicle is to be operated for the first time. Used cars without the number plate shall also be subject to this inspection.

  • Renewal Inspection: Inspection to be performed when a motor vehicle is to be operated continually beyond the expiry date of the motor vehicle inspection certificate.

  • Modification Inspection: The inspection to be performed when a motor vehicle has been modified to cause changes in its length, width, and/or maximum loading capacity.

  • Reassembling Inspection: Inspection to be performed when a motor vehicle has been disassembling repaired.

  • Preliminary Inspection: Inspection granted to car dealers, etc. for motor vehicles as their merchandise to confirm conformity with safety regulations before specific users are determined for the vehicles.


Examples of Type of Motor Vehicles Valid Term
New passenger cars for private use 3 Years
Passenger cars for private use (excluding those listed in the preceding)
Large-sized special motor vehicles and mini-sized trucks
2 Years
Taxis, buses for business use, trucks, tank lories, buses for private use, motor vehicles for kindergarten children 1 Years


Checks and Maintenance:

The Road Vehicles Act requires a motor vehicle not to be offered for operation unless it meets the technical standards for safety as well as for pollution Prevention. Motor vehicle users are obligated to undergo periodical checks and maintenance in order to keep their motor vehicles in proper condition at all times.



Registration is a requisite to drive a vehicle:

Motor vehicle that is subject to registration based on the Road Vehicle Act, must be registered and have a license plate attached with sealed before they can be driven on public roads.


Neary 51 million vehicle are subject to registration:

All the motor vehicles are subject to the national motor vehicle registration system with the exceptions of mini sized motor vehicles,small motorcycles and small special-purpose

vehicles. The number of motor vehicles subject to the national registration was 51.03million as of the end of December 1996. The figure had increased by 14.76million during the pheceding decade.


Types of Registration:

There are four types of registration.

  • Initial Registration: All unregistered vehicles are subject to new registration, including those whose registration has been canceled but that are to be driven again.

  • Alternation Registration: This refers to registration of any change in the vehicle type, chassis number, enging type, owner's name, address or main location of its use.

  • Transfer Registration: This refers to registration of new ownership after reasle or other transaction.

  • Deletion Registration: This refers to Cancellation of vehicle registration following the loss or demolition of a motor vehicle, discontinuation of its use, or termination of its use entirely.

A certificate of registration ( an official document showing contents of motor vehicle registration, etc.)is issued whenever requested.



Applicants of motor vehicle registration must submit an application form (OCR sheet) and other documents.

Some of these documents are required under the Road Vehicles Act while others are required under other ordinances.

For instance, application for a new inspection and registration requires the following documents:


Documents required under the Road Vehicles Act.

  • Application form(OCR sheet)

  • Receipt for the payment of registration fee

  • Completion inspection centification

  • Transfer certificate

  • Certificate of a seal impression

  • A letter of attorney


Documents required under other ordinance:

  • Receipt for the payment of vehicles weight tax (Vehicle Weight Tax Law)
  • Certificate of avaliability of automobile parking space ("Garage certificate" under Law related to securing automobile parking space, etc.)
  • Certificate of compulsory Automobile Liability Insurance (from the mutual aid association) (Automobile Liability Security Law) 

In aaddition, applicants must pay Automobile Tax and Automobile Acquisition Tax at appropriate tax offices located in their community. Copies of these receipts also must be submitted at the time of application. As explained above, applicants must submit various documents and certificates under defferent laws, which may appear time consuming. But you will find the motor vehicle inspection and registration system highly efficient. It ensures compliance with several laws at once while serving safety enhancing and statistical roles at the same time.


On-line and real-time processing:

Applications are processed on the on-line and real-time basis by an electronic information processing system that connects local registration offices and the national registration center. 



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