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U.S. Fleet Activities Sasebo
Sasebo City Japan 857-0056
Contact information for key programs and services at this installation.
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.
Obtaining a Driver's License
To qualify for a Driver's License you must possess a Valid U.S. State operator's permit and be 18 years of age or older. There are no provisions in Japan to obtain a driver's license for never before licensed individuals. All personnel must complete AOB/ICR and the traffic safety portion (INDOC), which includes a written and road test. This requirement covers all licenses. All personnel under 26 years of age must complete the NKO course "Driving for a life" and bring certificate to the class.
E-4 and below, in addition to the above, are required to get approval from their Commanding Officer/OIC for either a POV or GOV license, CFAS and tenants without an Officer must submit chits VIA CFAS, CSO. All GOV license applicants need a signed application form from their command.
All driving in Japan is done on the left side of the road. It is mandatory for all personnel to attend a four day Base Indoctrination and Intercultural Relations and Safety Driver's Brief workshop before being issued a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) driver's license for driving any government vehicle, POV's, and/or motorcycle. Have your sponsor make reservations with the Fleet and Family Support Center (FFSC) to register for the courses. Upon arrival you should pick up a copy of a local drivers manual from FFSC and study for your driver's exam.
To drive any vehicle (private or Government owned) in Japan, you must be properly licensed. U.S. Forces, Japan (USFJ) requires that specific qualification and testing requirements be satisfied before installation commanders may issue these licenses. One of these requirements provide that applicants present a valid (current) operator's permit issued by any state or territory of the US or by the District of Columbia; an international driver's permit, a valid Government of Japan operator's permit; or written proof that they have successfully completed a certified formal driving course. A certified formal driving course, as defined by USFJ, is not currently available within Navy Japan Region. Therefore, you should arrive with the required operator's permit if you wish to drive.
The minimum requirements which must be met prior taking driving exam:
The driver's license office is located in Building 200 and can be reached at 315-252-2704. Hours of operation are Monday through Friday, 8:00 am until 4:00 pm.
Driving in Japan is a very serious responsibility and a privilege our Armed Forces community members are granted under the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA). The Government of Japan views the operator of a motor vehicle as a professional and prosecutes unsafe or negligent driving behaviors, especially those that result in death or serious injury, very severely. Japanese laws treat anyone with .01 alcohol in their blood as DUI.
Qualifications for being issued a motorcycle license are basically the same as those for receiving a motor vehicle operator's license. The requesting individual must have a valid stateside or U.S. Territory operator's license in their possession. They must have verification that they have attended a Motorcycle Safety Foundation Course within the previous three year period. Japan is no place to begin learning how to drive a motorcycle.
See the instructor after you obtain a Form 4. Classes are held in bldg 200, second floor Training Room C unless otherwise informed during AOB/ICR.
Local Motor Vehicle Regulations
All privately owned vehicles must be registered at the Pass and Registration Office. Insurance required is Japanese Compulsory Insurance (JCI) which should be included in the purchase price of the vehicle and effective for no longer than two years. In addition, U.S. Forces personnel in Japan are required to purchase a separate liability policy. This insurance can be purchased at a local insurance company. The cost of this base insurance is based on age and pay grade, with average cost running around $300 for one year. Road tax is due each year (April). Cost is based on the type of vehicle and the size of car's engine, and may range from 1,900 to 7,500 yen. Used cars, trucks and motorcycles are advertised in a number of places on base and in the local community.
The Vehicle Registration and Pass Office is located in Building 320. Contact information is DSN 315-252-2377. Hours of operation are Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Hands Free Devices
Hands free devices must be used while operating a motor vehicle on all military installations worldwide.
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.