What can a Malaysian expect when driving in Japan?
Except when in metropolitan cities like Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya, transportation in Japan is said to be very inconvenient. One further thing you should know about Japan is, most Japanese people do not own a driving license at all.
If you intend to drive in Japan, permit me to brief you with regards to a few simple road rules and regulations, which you ought to be aware of. They are:
1) Japanese people drive on the left side, like us back home in Malaysia.
2) Drivers’ seats in Japan are located on the right, again, just like in Malaysia.
3) The minimum age to secure a driving license in Japan is 18 years.
4) Japanese people follow international rules.
5) Major signs and roads are in English and of course, Japanese.
6) Drinking and driving is strictly disallowed in Japan.
7) Expressways vary from 80 km/h to 100 km/h. In urban areas, the speed limit is 40 km/h, while in small roads, the speed limit is 30 km/h.
8) Good roads in Japan are available in the country. However, urban areas are usually congested.
9) Most roads are toll free, except expressways.
10) Japanese drivers are well mannered and considerate people.
11) Japanese are said to ignore traffic lights and cross junctions.
12) Japanese drivers are famous for stopping haphazardly on the edge of streets, thereby blocking traffic.
Countries such as Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland and Taiwan follow other conventions and not the Geneva Convention of 1949 and 1968. They are not recognized by the Japanese government.
License holders from the above nations can however drive in Japan for a period of one year provided their licenses are translated into Japanese by the Japanese Automobile Federation. It can also be translated by the country’s respective embassies or consulates.
People from other countries, other than the above mentioned, must attempt to get a Japanese license if they so desire to drive in Japan.
To get or apply for a Japanese domestic license, you have to be able to pass an eye test and must have stayed in Japan a period of 3 months. To get a driving license in Japan, a person will need several attempts, even for experienced drivers.