An International Driving Permit will allow a driver licensed in another country to drive legally in Japan. However, the permit is only good for one year, at which point any foreign resident who wishes to drive in Japan should apply for and take the Japanese driving test.
Some foreign nationals attempt to circumvent the system and attempt to get a second International Driving Permit after their first one expires. However, driving in Japan with a second International Driving Permit, after the first one has expired, is not allowed and could result in being arrested for driving without a license.
Driving without a license in Japan can be punished by up to a year in jail or a fine of up to 300,000 yen. Since driving without a license includes driving with an expired or invalid International Driving Permit it is important for foreign nationals to know the law and, if necessary, take the Japanese driving test.
If you have any questions about traffic laws in Japan, please contact our office for a legal consultation.