|Persons who hold international driving permits in conformity with the form
of Convention on Road Traffic 1949 used to be able to drive temporarily
in Japan during one year from the day they entered this country.
This system was laid down for the convenience of tourists and short-term
visitors, as an exception to the traffic law, which requires that all the
drivers obtain Japanese driving license in Japan.
However, some Japanese whose driving licenses have been revoked or some
foreign nationals who stay long period keep on driving with international
driving permits, without obtaining Japanese local licenses under present
Moreover, those persons leave Japan just before the one-year duration will
finish, replace the international driving permit with new one, and continue
driving when they come back to Japan.
Then, the Road Traffic Law was amended as follows, on June 1, 2002 to improve
Under the amended law, in case anyone, who registers as a resident or as
a foreign national in Japan, leave and reenter this country less than three
months, the above-mentioned one-year duration will never start newly.
It means even if they leave and reenter Japan with newly issued genuine
international driving permit, driving with that permit will be considered
to be driving without license, when they returned Japan less than three
months after their departure.