Driving In Japan With A Malaysian License

A reader recently provided a web site on driving in Japan.

I looked through the web site as it contained many new and interesting information regarding driving in Japan.

I felt it was best that I wrote an article on it for the benefit of all readers concerned.

First of all, to answer the question that many readers have asked this blog, “Can Malaysian driving license be used in Japan?”.

Japan is a signatory of the Geneva Conference 1949 and likewise its revamp of 1968.

But Japan does not accept Malaysian driving license as it is unlike Singapore, Australia, United Kingdom, Thailand and many other countries.

The Japanese authorities will only accept the use of Malaysian licenses in the form of International Driving License (I.D.L.) or International Driving Permit (I.D.P.).

So, what should Malaysians going over to Japan do if they should wish to drive there?

Malaysians going to Japan should therefore be prepared to convert their domestic license into I.D.L. or I.D.P. before their trip to the Land of The Rising Sun.

The international driving license can only be issued back home.

The I.D.L. are issued on a year to year basis.

It costs RM150 per year.

Renewals however can only be made back home, here in Malaysia.

To renew it, it is necessary to fill a form called JPJ L1.

Many readers have inquired can I.D.L. be renewed overseas?

Can’t it be renewed at Malaysian Consulate or Embassy in other countries?

Unfortunately, the answer is “No”.

So it looks as if one has to come back to Malaysia if he or she wishes to renew the license.

But alas, all is not lost.

A former J.P.J. officer, a friend of mine, who is currently working as the Assistant Manager of my institutes, advises, you can sent it back to Malaysia.

Friends and family member can assist you to renew your license and then send it back to your overseas.

A little of a hassle maybe, but still, it can be done.

Finally, before going over to Japan with your International Driving License, have the license ideally translated into the English language.

This is for the benefit of the Japanese authorities, whom as you know, are not fluent in Bahasa Malaysia anyway.

By | 2017-04-26T00:33:09+08:00 December 1st, 2010|International License|21 Comments

About the Author:


  1. michelle December 3, 2010 at 9:03 am - Reply

    Hi, Cikgu Yap. I wish to take driving test during this coming the chinese new year (cause this is the only time i will come back form oversea), i wonder if the JPJ authority will be working during this period or when will they have holiday. Do you have any idea?
    Thank you =)

    • Cikgu Yap December 3, 2010 at 4:50 pm - Reply

      Normally, JPJ closes 2 – 3 days during CNY period.

  2. Dirk Diggler March 31, 2011 at 9:26 am - Reply

    I went to jpj to get a IDL to drive in Japan , but the officer said i only need a letter to proved my license because i’ll be there for only 2 weeks. I check the letter which cost me rm10 only, is a data of my driving license in English. Is it applicable? as i read in your articles, malaysian must use IDL to drive cars in Japan. Need your advise. Cheers.

    • Cikgu Yap April 4, 2011 at 12:10 pm - Reply

      If JPJ advises as such, then it is up to you whether to either accept their advice or not. However, my answers to my readers are based on feedback from readers who have gone to Japan and faced specific problem from the authorities there.

  3. Ann (New Driving Learner) May 24, 2011 at 7:43 am - Reply

    Very useful article came out for new driver. Even in United Kingdome, driving rules are very tough. But we have to agree that all rules are made for safety. I’m still learning safe driving rules online http://www.free-theory-test.addbucket.com and other website.

  4. shafiq June 18, 2011 at 9:37 pm - Reply

    cikgu yap..i’m a student who studying in japan. currently i have internatinal driving license. i heard from my senior that japanese officers do not accept malaysia international license if my visa already more than one year eventhough my I.D.L still valid until this october. is it true?

    • Cikgu Yap June 21, 2011 at 11:52 pm - Reply

      Japanese authorities unfortunately refuse to adhere to many international agreement on modes of driver. An. IDL which is valid should by right be acceptable, but again, they can decide as they so choose to whether your visa plays a part in your ability to drive in Japan or otherwise.

  5. Harvey February 29, 2012 at 7:51 am - Reply

    Dear Cikgu Yap,

    I’m malaysian who stay at japan,now my IDP going to expired in 3 more month!can i send it back to malaysia with all the document that need to my family member to renew it?2 quetion is can i get my driving license record from jpj?


    • Cikgu Yap June 6, 2012 at 12:01 pm - Reply

      Yes, you can.

    • Barry Ong July 5, 2016 at 6:50 pm - Reply

      If you are going to stay longer, you can convert to Japanese License. It worked for me in 1984, But I dont know if they are changes.

  6. Angela June 2, 2012 at 11:31 pm - Reply

    Pls don’t use only the letter!! I been reject by them to drive car just use the letter.. Pls apply IDL!,

  7. Joe June 28, 2012 at 11:06 am - Reply

    Dear Cikgu Yap,

    I’m Malaysian who just start work in Japan. My company require me to have a valid driving license. Can i apply a IDP in Malaysia? Do it have a period of time of using a IDP in Japan because i read tru some article, its say that country like USA, the IDP onli valid for 90 days staying in Japan.

    • Cikgu Yap June 29, 2012 at 8:53 am - Reply

      Apply IDL back home. Use it in foreign countries for a reasonable time (about 120 days). Test for local license if you want to drive longer there.

  8. Chris August 16, 2014 at 2:13 am - Reply

    Dear Cikgu Yap,

    I am Malaysian and used to have IDL use in Macau 3 years ago. Am i going to apply the new one as i am planning to drive in Okinawa. And, can i ask my family to apply it on behalf as long as i send back my original malaysia driving license? Thank you

  9. Jazzlyn December 4, 2016 at 9:20 pm - Reply

    The law requires you to be in the country you got your driving license from for at least 3 months before you can use your international driving license in Japan. So for those living in Japan, your IDP might not be valid if you’ve been in Japan for a long time and if you’ve not been out of the country for at least 3 months.

  10. Koo March 19, 2017 at 10:04 pm - Reply

    Dear Cikgu Yap
    I am a Malaysian residing in UK with a Permanent Resident status. I have a British Driving License. Do I still require an International Driving License to drive in Japan?
    Thank you

    • Cikgu Yap March 27, 2017 at 3:26 pm - Reply

      You have to check with the Japanese embassy to confirm.

  11. Sonia March 28, 2017 at 2:15 pm - Reply

    Hello Cikgu Yap,

    I read through your post here and want to add some information about the two passport size colour photos.

    My husband today just went to apply the international driving permit from JPJ Putrajaya branch which he also taken along with newly take coloured (blue backgrpund) passport photos.

    When he submit the application with the blue background coloured passport photos, the officer rejected as he said only WHITE background coloured passport photos is required for the application. The officer ask my husband to go to the convenient store there to take another WHITE background photos (2 pc for RM6) for submission.

    Hope this information will helps.


  12. Ht June 14, 2017 at 11:04 pm - Reply

    May i know how much to apply International driving permit?

  13. Arisa Chow April 20, 2018 at 10:31 pm - Reply

    Hi Cikgu Yap,

    If i were to apply for a spouse visa in Japan, will my applied LDP be still usable?
    Or i can use the LDP for only 120 days (while my visa application is being processed) and after that i have to convert it to Japanese driving license?

    Hope to hear your advice on this, thank you.

Leave A Comment