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Traffic Violations

Japan With Kids - Forums: Traveling to/from and in Japan: Driving a Car in Japan (License, violations, etc.) : Traffic Violations
By Sue on Tuesday, May 16, 2006 - 11:39 am:

My huband got a ticket during GW and I've lost it. Who should I call to get another ticket issued? Thank you.

By Scott Hancock on Tuesday, May 16, 2006 - 1:15 pm:

h, that sounds a bit difficult...
I would go to the main police station closest to where the violation occurred and explain. At a large police station you have a better chance of finding an English speaker.

These things are not so computerized as it might be in the U.S.. My guess is that you will see them search through paper files after you give as many details as you can.

If you are not sure of the nearest police station, let us know where the violation was and we'll see if we can figure it out.

By Bettina McGimsey on Monday, May 29, 2006 - 2:14 pm:

I just found out that there will be a crackdown on illegal on-street parking throughout Japan. The following link is for an Asahi Shimbun article regarding this. Just an FYI.

By Pato on Thursday, October 4, 2007 - 3:37 pm:

The good thing about this, at least in Tokyo, is that they no longer deduct points from your license for parking violations. So they'd rather have the money than lose the drivers ;-)

By Cornelia on Saturday, June 11, 2005 - 1:08 am:

Is it just me or is there a major series of traps set for drivers in the last 3 weeks?

I don't drive a car, but ride my bicycle around a lot. They have pulled over dozens of cars in front of my house every day for not stopping at the rail crossing (Kita-ku, Tokyo). I've seen police pulling cars and motorcycles over at many points in my cycling radius, far more than I have ever noticed before. I just wanted to warn anyone who drives a lot that there seems to be an unusual amount of traffic enforcement on right now, and to drive with extra care.

The reason I even care: my girlfriend recently got a ticket for illegal parking because her son had to go number two right away, and there was no place to pull over. Well, it just so happens that they give negative points for illegal parking, at least in Tokyo. And those "emergency toilet" points made her a candidate for license suspension. I got a friend to translate the postcard she received from the Japanese equivelant of the DMV. This is basically what it said:

notice to appear yourself
Date: 2005 March 29

If you will attend a lecture appear between 8:30 - 9:20am. If you attend the lecture the suspension time of licence is shorter.
If you do not plan to attend the lecture, appear yourself between 10:00 am and 11:30 am. Or in the afternoon 13:00 and 15:00.
The place to appear is 5th floor of Koto Shikenjo (near Kinchicho maybe on the Tozai line get off at Toyocho station walking is 5 minutes, or JR Kinchicho station take a bus or taxi).

The matters of 2004 June 30 (4) and 2005 March 3 (3) have totaled your points to 7.

Bring your license with you.

Don't drive yourself.

Bring this postcard.

If you are not able to appear yourself, arrange someone to represent you with letter of permission from you and your hanko and representative's hanko and representative's ID. The representative can not sit through the lecture for you.

If your licence is already kept by police please get it back from the police and report on this day.

Effective date of suspension is the same day as you report.

You can not be late in the morning or you will not get a place for a lecture. The lecture will take a few hours and you will get a number and an appointment time and place. The charge for the lecture is Y13800. The lecture may have actual driving involved. Please wear suitable shoes and clothing. Bring a writing implement.

The lecture will finish around 16:30 pm.

You can not drink alcohol on the day of the lecture. You can not bring children and you can not come if you are sick.

People who can not understand Japanese or read Japanese please bring a translator or interpreter along.

Here is the amazing end to this story. She went with an interpreter to the lecture, and by the time it was over (including 3 quizzes) all her points were erased and her licence was suspended only until midnight of the same day. But some people are not so lucky. They get a possible 6 month suspension reduced to anywhere between 2 weeks and 2 months for example. It seems that there is an opinion offered by the lecturer at this "class" that makes a difference maybe?

Anyway, it's a whole day, plus cost of translator and babysitter, etc. so drive carefully! Even parking infringements can land you in this kettle of soup!

By Scott Hancock on Saturday, June 11, 2005 - 2:02 am:

The police have these "campaigns" every so often. Usually at the end of March, but I think if they get low on overtime, a "campaign" is an easy way to make up for it. I have been caught in a couple of them.

Funny you should mention the railroad crossing bit because that's what I got caught on most recently. Driving so many years in Japan and I didn't know we are supposed to stop!

I've also been to the lecture from parking tickets (and there's a story behind those, too) Although getting a parking ticket in the time it takes to go #2 is a new record. A few times I've tried to get police to ticket cars that were blocking or parked in crosswalks or something and they always said, "We have to give a warning first." Though I heard that now, they don't, so maybe she fell into a trap. Too bad she didn't have a dirty diaper for the officer.

The other thing people need to watch - and maybe this is obvious - is that when they do these campaigns, they often post police at intersections or rail crossings watching. OFten they are not so hidden (though sometimes they are), so if you see police hanging out watching at a corner, believe they are watching you.

I actually got my first ticket on the first day I had my Japanese license!

Thanks for posting this, Cornelia.

By Yuko Kubota on Saturday, June 11, 2005 - 2:49 am:

My understanding (err...speaking from experience) is that if the police notices illegal parking, they would usually draw a chalk line on your tire and the pavement, then come back in about 15 minutes to see if your tire has moved. If it hasn't moved, they will put a ticket on your car or even lock your tire or toll the car away with a record of "the driver parked illegally for more than so and so minutes." You will have to go to the police to fill in some papers and promise you'd pay a fine (worth numerous parking fees) to their bank account within a certain date, and you will loose some points as well, but you'd usually get your car back right away.

When your points reach a certain amount, your licence will be suspended. In order to drive again, you usually have to attend a lecture. My guess is that it wasn't the first time Cornelia's friend got a ticket for illegal parking, because a simple case of illegal parking won't let you loose enough points to have your licence suspened.

In any case, illegal parking will block the traffic and will even cause trouble for emergency vehicles. Let us all try to follow our rules.

However, I find it "interesting" that the police were so apologetic every time (among the few times!) I went to them with an illegal parking ticket. If they're so apologetic, why give me a ticket?? Maybe issuing tickets is a convenient way to get taxes that lack so much in Japan today.

About the campaign, I have no idea why they're doing it now (and I don't see many here in Yokohama lately), but if they're focused on the railroads, perhaps it's due to the many serious rail related accidents that were caused recently, such as the one in Amagasaki, or the other where housewives were hit by trains at a railroad crossing.

By Yuko Kubota on Saturday, June 11, 2005 - 8:24 pm:

Regarding illegal parking, I forgot to write that, according to what the police last told me, all your deducted points will be returned to you if you don't break the law for a year.

By Scott Hancock on Saturday, June 11, 2005 - 8:42 pm:

I think it might be a bit more complicated when you drill down into the details. I think it's a kind of rolling system, where each violation's points have an amount of time they will last.

If you get points in January and points in December, they don't go away at the same time - I believe.

I remember seeing a complicated chart about this at "the lecture", but it was too much to absorb.

They did show a nice video with a story about a nice, regular couple who's lives were ruined by a careless moment, though. Effective in any language.

By Robin Lancien on Sunday, June 12, 2005 - 6:35 am:

As one of those parking ticket violators...I've had my car ticketed and towed in a supposed parking zone (at least there wasn't a no parking sign) in the matter of 30 minutes, but when I got parked in at my friend's driveway the police took an hour to come and said we'd have to leave our car overnight because there weren't any tow trucks available. I've been driving here for 12 years and it's only been since the tax problems that they have really started cracking down. I also read in the newpaper that they are considering subcontracting parking violations to companies and that would actually make it even more profitable for the police and very difficult for everyone from the delivery man to the taxi driver pulled over for a break. Guess we should all watch out!

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