Vehicle Roadworthiness Tests in Japan
The compulsory roadworthiness test for your car or other motor vehicle in Japan: why, when, where and how to get it done...
All vehicles in Japan must undergo regular vehicle inspections (shaken). New cars need to be tested after three years, and then vehicles must be tested every two years thereafter
The Vehicle Inspection
A vehicle inspection (shaken) is compulsory for all vehicles with an engine size over 250cc. It ensures that all vehicles on the road are properly maintained and safe to drive.
The test also checks that vehicles have not been illegally modified; if they are found to have been modified, they are not allowed on the road.
The National Agency for Vehicle Inspection has information about the different types of inspections.
The test must be carried out at an authorised service garage or at the Transport Bureau. Inspection and maintenance services can also be found at most car dealers.
An appointment for a vehicle inspection must be booked in advance, and the paperwork completed at the centre. It is cheaper, though, to organise the paperwork, to check the vehicle for maintenance problems, and carry out any repairs before going to an approved inspection centre for the official test.
The shaken should be renewed one month before the expiry date. This date is shown on the shaken sticker which is usually attached to the windscreen.
- To find out where to take a vehicle to be tested: Click here
There are eight documents needed for the vehicle inspection.
- Jidousha kensa shoumeisho: Known as the Shaken shou, this document should be kept in the vehicle and contains information about the vehicle and its registered owner, as well as the date when the current shaken expires.
- Jidoushazei nouzei shoumeisho: Vehicle tax receipt.
- Tenkenseibi kirokubo: 60-point checksheet which specifies (as laid down in law) the checks that should be carried out on any car manufactured after 1995. For cars manufactured before 1995 there may be further checks. For more details about checks and maintenance: Click here
- Jibaiseki hoken shoumeisho: Certificate of Compulsory Insurance, which should include the current and new certificate. The new certificate is for the following two years and can be bought at the inspection centre or through insurance companies.
- Jidousha juuryouzei noufusho: Car weight tax, a document which is stamped when payment is made.
- Keizoku kensa shinseisho: Vehicle inspection application form, which must be completed and stamped. There is a fee for this form.
- Jidousha kensahyou: Vehicle inspection test sheet with the test results. It must be stamped and the test fee paid.
- Risaikuru ken: Introduced in 2005, the Recycling Certificate is an additional check which must be carried out at the same time as the shaken and verifies the recycling fee has been paid.
- For more information about the process of a renewal inspection: Click here
- For more information about documentation required for the roadworthiness test: Click here
The cost of the vehicle inspection depends on the age and condition of the vehicle. Costs increase when repairs are made and when a third party takes the vehicle to an inspection centre on behalf of the customer.
- For more information about inspection costs: Click here
Taking the Test
A vehicle inspection test checks the following:
- Exhaust - tested for noise level, as well as carbon monoxide and hydrocarbon levels
- Exterior inspection to check for any illegal modifications
- Undercarriage - to check the suspension
- Wheel alignment
If a car fails any element of the test, it must be repaired and the car must be re-tested. If the car is repaired and re-tested on the same day, there is no additional charge, however, if the test takes place on another day the fee must be paid again,
- For more information about the inspection process: Click here
Selling a Car
The shaken can be transferred when selling a car. It is not necessary for the vehicle to undergo inspection when it is to be sold unless the inspection is due.
Importing a foreign car to Japan can be an expensive and lengthy process. All foreign cars must meet Japanese safety and road requirements and must be registered in Japan with a valid shaken. Foreign cars can be driven temporarily in Japan with a Carnet de Passage en Douane (CDP), which is valid for one year.