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United States Army
Zama-shi, Kanagawa Ken Japan 228-8920
Figuring out the best way to get around is important when you’re in a new installation. It’s useful to understand the various regulations, local laws as well as license and registration requirements. Whether you need a driver’s license, transport a car overseas or want help buying a car, there are people to assist you at your new installation. Check out the topics below to find information and regulations on vehicles and registration at your base.
When operating a motor vehicle in Japan, a driver must possess a motor vehicle license that authorizes driving in Japan, issued by the local Provost Marshal office. Under Japanese law, every licensed driver is a professional driver. Therefore, all drivers are expected to exercise an extremely high standard of care. Drunk driving is a criminal offense. The United States has primary jurisdiction over vehicular accidents while in the performance of official duty.
Pursuant to USARJ Supplement 1 to AR 190-5, Motor Vehicle Traffic Supervision, paragraph 2-1c, personnel on Temporary Duty (TDY) or Invitational Travel Orders for less than 90 days are not permitted to operate any motor vehicles, except as required for official duty. Additionally, personnel on TDY are not authorized to rent vehicles from commercial agencies.
State laws vary when it comes to motor vehicle insurance requirements, licensing and registration. The term vehicle generally includes automobiles, motorcycles, vans, trailers and boats regularly parked or garaged overnight. Service members and their families will want to understand their state’s laws on registration and licensing before moving to a new state. Visit the USA.gov Motor Vehicle Services page for links to state-specific websites.
All personnel on Camp Zama will not possess more than one registered 4-wheeled and one registered 2-wheeled vehicle per licensed vehicle operator up to a maximum of three per household. Permanent vehicle registration must be obtained within 5 days of receiving or acquiring a vehicle. Personnel will report to the designated Provost Marshall (PM) vehicle registration section. At the time of reporting, personnel will be prepared to complete registration with the Japanese authorities and with the local PM within 3 workdays. Personnel for the PM registration section will:
Insurance Requirements -- U.S. Forces personnel will have in effect at the time of registration of their vehicles, and will maintain in effect until registration is canceled, the following types of insurance:
Cell Phones - Hands-free devices must be used while operating a motor vehicle on ALL military installations worldwide.
Traffic -- All motor vehicles must be driven on the left side of the road. It usually takes some time to commit it to memory in order to drive safely.
Accidents -- All accidents must be reported to the Military Police Station immediately on an AJ Form 943 EJ.
The only authorized operator's permit utilized in Japan is the USFJ Form 4EJ issued by the local law enforcement organization at place of assignment. This criteria includes all dependents regardless of whether they are employed or not. In order to obtain USFJ Form 4EJ, the individual must attend a 4-hour driver's training course given every Tuesday, from 8 am until 12 pm at Building 102, South Camp Zama by the Safety Office. Attendance in this course, successful completion of a 45-question test, and a valid stateside USFK, USAEUR, or international license is required to obtain the USFJ Form 4EJ. Student Drivers
Student Driver's Permit
Student driver's permit (temporary). A temporary permit for a four-wheeled vehicle may be issued for a 90-day period to individuals 18 years of age or older. To obtain this permit the individual must attend the driver's training course and successfully complete the test mentioned above. In addition, the individual must obtain an eye test at the Motor Pool. This permit is valid only when the student driver is accompanied by an adult (21 years or older) licensed in accordance with the above. The practice vehicle will display AJ Sign 19EJ (Student Temporary Permit, Under Practice), both front and rear, and will be allowed to operate only at designated times and locations.
Minor's Student Permit
Family members 16 and 17 years of age may receive a student permit. The student must complete all the requirements above and then submit a written application (17th ASG Form 68). The permit is valid only when the student driver is accompanied by an licensed adult (21 or older).
Two-Wheeled Vehicle Permit
Student permits require authorization from the sponsor's commander or supervisor. Students must also attend a motorcycle briefing, pass a written test and attend a Motorcycle Safety Foundation course.
State and local laws regulate the operation of motor vehicles, and these laws can vary by location. Many states regulate the following:
Learn more about motor vehicle laws in your state at the Distraction.gov State Laws page.
Under Japanese law, every licensed driver is a professional driver. Drunk driving laws are extremely strict, with very low Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) levels and severe punishments and costs for infractions.
All SOFA personnel who choose to own and operate a vehicle while stationed in Japan are required to possess Japanese Compulsory Insurance (JCI) and additional liability insurance for both property damage and bodily injury. The minimum required additional liability insurance amounts are $30,000 (or 3 million yen) for property damage and $300,000 (or 30 million yen) for bodily injury liability. Failure to maintain this required insurance will result in the suspension of driving privileges for a period of 1 year.
All incidents/accidents involving personal injury to, or death of a Japanese national, or damage to property belonging to a Japanese national must be reported, thoroughly investigated and forwarded to the USAF. The USAF has single-Service claims responsibility in Japan. The Japanese national(s) involved will be advised to contact the local DFAB.