Vehicle registration plates of Japan

Vehicle registration plates of Japan

In Japan, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport of the national government issues vehicle registration plates for motor vehicles through Land Transportation Offices nationwide. However, the local municipality rather than the national government registers certain vehicles with small engine displacements. Broadly speaking, passenger automobiles with engine displacements less than 2000 cc receive 5-series plates, while passenger automobiles with gasoline engines having displacements of 2000 cc or more receive 3-series license plates. The number on the top line begins with a "5" or a "3" to indicate the series. Additional criteria include length, width and height of the vehicle. Official vehicles of the Imperial household, the Self-Defense Forces, foreign diplomats, and the U.S. military in Japan are exempt from the requirement to display such plates.

The plates are installed in both the front and rear of the vehicle, with the rear plate permanently attached to the vehicle with a prefecture seal completely covering one of the attaching plate bolts. The plate is only removed when the vehicle has reached the end of service and has been sold for scrap. New vehicles are not delivered to the purchaser until the plates have been attached at the dealership. Japan does not use temporary registration. White plates for private vehicles were offered starting in the late 1980s with the green lettering replaced with molded green plastic that could be illuminated from behind the plate when the license plate lights were switched on, and, recently, specific numbers can also be requested if the numbers are not already in use.

"Please note that, to avoid any claims of invasion of privacy, the artist has deliberately selected a leading hiragana character that is not compatible with the color scheme. This would represent a forged plate in Japan!"

The illustration shows what a plate might look like. The top line contains the name of the issuing office (Tama, shown, is in Tokyo) and a vehicle class code. The bottom line contains a hiragana character and a four-digit serial number divided into two groups of two digits separated by a hyphen. Any leading zeros are replaced by centered dots.

White plates can have the following hiragana:

さすせそたちつてとなにぬねのはひふほまみむめもやゆよらりるろ

and for rental vehicles

れわ

Green plates can have the following hiragana:

あいうえかきくけこを

A license plate in Japan thus follows this format: KK?*H##-## (e.g., 足立500き21-41), where KK is the name of the issuing office in kanji, H is a hiragana, ? is a 5 for vehicles less than 2000 cc and a 3 for vehicles greater than 2000 cc (other numbers are less common—1 for large trucks, 2 for buses, etc. [ [http://www.tigerdude.com/japan/license/veh.html Vehicle Code System since 1962 - Japanese License Plates] .] ), * is a number from 0 to 99 (pre-1971 license plates will omit this), and # is a number from 0* to 9 (*leading zeros are replaced by centered dots).

Vehicles owned by personnel with the United States military in Japan under the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) have a "Y" on white plates, or an "A" on yellow plates, where the hiragana character is normally displayed. Earlier versions of the SOFA license plate displayed the letters "K", "M", "G", "H" and "E". These letters indicated the car was imported into Japan under SOFA and was left-hand drive. Since the 1980s, servicemembers assigned to Japan have been discouraged from shipping their vehicles from the U.S. into the country. Many opt to purchase second-hand domestic vehicles through used car dealers off-base, and from other servicemembers departing Japan at on-base "lemon lots". [ [http://www.fitzgerald.navy.mil/site%20pages/howtobuy.aspx How to Purchase and Register a Vehicle] , Web site of the USS|Fitzgerald|DDG-62.]

Out of country plates

Because the Japanese writing system, particularly the "kana", is unique to Japan, standard-issue Japanese license plates are considered unacceptable for international travel. If a motorist wishes to bring their vehicle with them while traveling abroad, the Ministry of Transport will issue to them a plate with the hiragana and kanji scripts replaced with roman letters. The hiragana prefix is replaced by a Kunrei-shiki romanization of that character. The kanji prefecture/office code is replaced by a two- or three-letter abbreviation, the first two letters representing the prefecture, the third (if present) representing the office within the prefecture. All the numerical portions of the plate remain the same.

Using the example given above, the plate (足立500き21-41) would then read TKA 500 21-41 (TKA for Tokyo Adachi) .

Transportation Offices and Markings

"Those in brackets are formerly used markings."

Aichi Prefecture

* Mikawa : 三河 ACM
* Nagoya : 名古屋 ACN (愛 AC)
* Owarikomaki : 尾張小牧 ACO
* Toyohashi : 豊橋 ACT

Akita Prefecture

* Akita : 秋田 ATA (秋 AT)

Aomori Prefecture

* Aomori : 青森 AMA (青 AM)
* Hachinohe : 八戸 AMH

Chiba Prefecture

* Chiba : 千葉 CBC (千 CB)
* Narashino : 習志野 CBN
* Noda : 野田 CBD
* Sodegaura : 袖ヶ浦 CBS

Ehime Prefecture

* Ehime : 愛媛 EH

Fukui Prefecture

* Fukui : 福井 FI

Fukuoka Prefecture

* Chikuhō : 筑豊 FOC
* Fukuoka : 福岡 FOF (福 FO)
* Kitakyūshū : 北九州 FOK
* Kurume : 久留米 FOR

Fukushima Prefecture

* Fukushima : 福島 FS
* Iwaki : いわき FSI

Gifu Prefecture

* Gifu : 岐阜 GFG (岐 GF)
* Hida : 飛騨 GFH

Gunma Prefecture

* Gunma : 群馬 GMG (群 GM)

Hiroshima Prefecture

* Fukuyama : 福山 HSF
* Hiroshima : 広島 HSH (広 HS)

Hokkaidō

* Asahikawa : 旭川 AKA (旭 AK)
* Hakodate : 函館 HDH (函 HD)
* Kitami : 北見 KIK (北 KI)
* Kushiro : 釧路 KRK (釧 KR)
* Muroran : 室蘭 MRM (室 MR)
* Obihiro : 帯広 OHO (帯 OH)
* Sapporo : 札幌 SPS (札 SP)

Hyōgo Prefecture

* Himeji : 姫路 HGH
* Kōbe : 神戸 HGK (兵 HG)

Ibaraki Prefecture

* Mito : 水戸 IGM (茨城 IGI) (茨 IG)
* Tsuchiura : 土浦 IGT

Ishikawa Prefecture

* Ishikawa : 石川 IKI (石 IK)

Iwate Prefecture

* Iwate : 岩手 ITI (岩 IT)

Kagawa Prefecture

* Kagawa : 香川 KAK (香 KA)

Kagoshima Prefecture

* Kagoshima : 鹿児島 KOK (鹿 KO)
** Kagoshima, Ōshima office

Kanagawa Prefecture

* Kawasaki : 川崎 KNK
* Sagami : 相模 KNS
* Shōnan : 湘南 KNN
* Yokohama : 横浜 KNY (神 KN)

Kōchi Prefecture

* Kōchi : 高知 KCK (高 KC)

Kumamoto Prefecture

* Kumamoto : 熊本 KUK (熊 KU)

Kyōto Prefecture

* Kyōto : 京都 KTK (京 KT)

Mie Prefecture

* Mie : 三重 MEM (三 ME)

Miyagi Prefecture

* Miyagi : 宮城 MGM (宮 MG)

Miyazaki Prefecture

* Miyazaki : 宮崎 MZ

Nagano Prefecture

* Matsumoto : 松本 NNM
* Nagano : 長野 NNN (長 NN)

Nagasaki Prefecture

* Nagasaki : 長崎 NS
** Nagasaki, Izuhara office
* Sasebo : 佐世保 NSS

Nara Prefecture

* Nara : 奈良 NRN (奈 NR)

Niigata Prefecture

* Nagaoka : 長岡 NGO
* Niigata : 新潟 NGN (新 NG)

Ōita Prefecture

* Ōita : 大分 OT

Okayama Prefecture

* Okayama : 岡山 OYO (岡 OY)

Okinawa Prefecture

* Okinawa : 沖縄 ONO (沖 ON)
** Okinawa, Miyako office
** Okinawa, Yaeyama office

Ōsaka Prefecture

* Izumi : 和泉 OSZ (泉 OSI)
* Naniwa : なにわ OSN
* Ōsaka: 大阪 OSO (大 OS)

Saga Prefecture

* Saga : 佐賀 SAS (佐 SA)

Saitama Prefecture

* Kasukabe : 春日部 STB
* Kumagaya : 熊谷 STK
* Ōmiya : 大宮 STO (埼玉 STS) (埼 ST)
* Tokorozawa : 所沢 STT

Shiga Prefecture

* Shiga : 滋賀 SIS (滋 SI)

Shimane Prefecture

* Shimane : 島根 SN (嶋 SM)

Shizuoka Prefecture

* Hamamatsu : 浜松 SZH
* Numazu : 沼津 SZN
* Shizuoka : 静岡 SZS (静 SZ)

Tochigi Prefecture

* Tochigi : とちぎ TGC
* Utsunomiya : 宇都宮 TGU (栃木 TGT) (栃 TG)

Tokushima Prefecture

* Tokushima : 徳島 TST (徳 TS)

Tokyo

* Adachi : 足立 TKA (足 TOA)
* Hachiōji : 八王子 TKH
* Nerima : 練馬 TKN (練 TON)
* Shinagawa : 品川 TKS (品 TOS) (東 TK) (no marking)
* Tama : 多摩 TKT (多 TOT)

Tottori Prefecture

* Tottori : 鳥取 TTT (鳥 TT)

Toyama Prefecture

* Toyama : 富山 TYT (富 TY)

Wakayama Prefecture

* Wakayama : 和歌山 WKW (和 WK)

Yamagata Prefecture

* Shōnai : 庄内 YAS
* Yamagata : 山形 YA

Yamaguchi Prefecture

* Yamaguchi : 山口 YUY (山 YU)

Yamanashi Prefecture

* Yamanashi : 山梨 YN

"Gotōchi" numbers

In 2006, several new location names have started to appear on plates. The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport approved these applications for places that want to increase their recognition for purposes such as tourism. Criteria included the need for 100,000 vehicles in the area and the avoidance of an imbalance in the prefecture. The new locations will appear on plates for vehicles registered in certain specific cities, towns and villages in or near the places named below.

Here are the new locations for 2006 (and their former location names):

*Aizu: 会津 FSA (Fukushima)
*Ichinomiya: 一宮 ACI (Owari Komaki)
*Izu: 伊豆 SZI (Numazu)
*Kanazawa: 金沢 IKK (Ishikawa)
*Kashiwa: 柏 CBK (Noda)
*Kawagoe: 川越 STG (Tokorozawa)
*Kurashiki: 倉敷 OYK (Okayama)
*Narita: 成田 CBT (Chiba)
*Nasu: 那須 TGN (Utsunomiya)
*Okazaki: 岡崎 ACZ (Mikawa)
*Sakai: 堺 OSS (Izumi)
*Sendai: 仙台 MGS (Miyagi)
*Shimonoseki: 下関 YUS (Yamaguchi)
*Suwa: 諏訪 NNS (Matsumoto)
*Suzuka: 鈴鹿 MES (Mie)
*Takasaki: 高崎 GMT (Gunma)
*Toyota: 豊田 ACY (Mikawa)
*Tsukuba: つくば IGK (Tsuchiura)

ee also

*Keicar
*Motor-vehicle inspection (Japan)

References

*

External links

* [http://www.mlit.go.jp/english/index.html Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport (English page) ]


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