printerprint friendly view (pdf)    Bookmark and Share    text size decrease increase

Motor Vehicles

Registration and licensing requirements

State laws vary when it comes to motor vehicle insurance requirements, licensing and registration. The term vehicle generally includes automobiles, motorcycles, vans, trailers and boats regularly parked or garaged overnight. Service members and their families will want to understand their state’s laws on registration and licensing before moving to a new state. Visit the USA.gov Motor Vehicle Services page for links to state-specific websites.

Motor vehicle laws

State and local laws regulate the operation of motor vehicles, and these laws can vary by location. Many states regulate the following:

  • Seatbelt use
  • Child safety seats
  • Motorcycle operation
  • The use of cellphones and other digital devices while driving

Learn more about motor vehicle laws in your state at the Distraction.gov State Laws page.

Installation Specific Information

Driving in Japan

Vehicle Allowances based on RankCurrently, Commander Fleet Activities Yokosuka authorizes only 10% of single E4 and below, and civilian equivalents, to own a vehicle (car/motorcycle.) Married E4 and below, and civilian equivalents, can own only one car. E5 and above, single or married, can own one car per licensed driver, but not to exceed a total of two, if you need another vehicle you may request an exception to policy through Commander Fleet Activities Yokosuka.

Obtaining a Drivers LicenseUS Commander Forces Japan Drivers License requirements:

  • a. Applicants must possess a valid (current) operator's permit issued by any state or territory of the United States or by the District of Columbia.
  • b. Or a valid (current) international driver's permit
  • c. Or a valid (current) GOJ operator's permit
  • d. Or written proof that he or she has successfully completed a certified formal driving course

Valid (current) operator's permit is one that is not expired.

CFAY now offers a Driving Course:

  • Open to all SOFA members
  • 39 hours of classroom instruction
  • Cost $300.00 payable to Yokosuka NEX

The Traffic Safety Lecture is mandatory for all personnel desiring to obtain a driver's license. Attendance at the weekly Area Orientation Brief/Intercultural Relations (AOB/ICR) program presented by the Fleet and Family Support Center is prerequisite to attending the Traffic Safety Lecture, which is conducted by the COMFLEACT Safety Office. Your Sponsor can sign you up for the class by calling FFSC at DSN 315-243-3372, internationally at 011-81-816-3372 or visit the FFSC website to sign up for the ICR class.

To drive any vehicle (private or Government owned) in Japan, you must be properly licensed. U.S. Forces, Japan (USFJ) requires that specific qualification and testing requirements be satisfied before installation commanders may issue these licenses.

Cars for SaleThe MWR car lot is located on-base near the Commissary. The price range for vehicles is typically from $500-$5,000 and vehicles tend to be about 5-10 years old. There are also numerous off-base used car lots and junk yards (they are different from U.S. junkyards). Before purchasing a vehicle please review the CFAY policies regarding the numbers of vehicles that are allowed per household.

Local Motor Vehicle RegistrationRegistration procedures vary and will be explained in detail by registration personnel after reviewing vehicle ownership papers. In brief, the following minimum requirements must be met to register a vehicle (purchased locally after arrival):

(1) The buyer must have: 

  • a valid USFJ driver's license 
  • liability insurance in his/her own name, for a minimum period of 12 months. Minimum coverage limits have been set at 30 million yen for bodily injury and 3 million yen for property damage. Cost of liability insurance varies between agents and may be affected by other personal criteria. 
  • Japanese Compulsory Insurance (JCI). The cost is based on the size of the vehicle. Insurance can be transferred between owners, but the transaction must be officially processed to be valid. 
  • For E-4 and below, if married, Commanding Officer's permission to own and register the vehicle. The proper form is available at the Vehicle Registration Office.

(2)The following must be up-to-date and in effect at the time of registration transfer from seller to buyer: 

  • Road Tax for the current year. (Road Tax is paid annually and is based on the size of the vehicle's engine.) 
  • Japanese inspection card. 
  • A current NEX Garage vehicle safety inspection (every two years).

There is additional paperwork which must be completed at the Yokohama Land Transportation Office (LTO). The new owner can do this, or he/she can hire someone locally to make the LTO run. There is no shortage of LTO runners on base, and they usually advertise their services and fees in the weekly base newspaper.

Seat BeltsSeat belts must be worn by operators and passengers. All children under age four, weighing less than 40 pounds, must use a U.S. Department of Transportation (DoT) approved infant or child safety seat, in a proper manner, while riding in a Navy or private motor vehicle.

Motorcycles/Scooters/Mopeds

DOT approved helmets and motorcycle riding attire (including reflective vests) must be worn by all operators of motorcycles, motor scooters and mopeds on board Fleet Activities Yokosuka. This requirement applies to SOFA sponsored U.S. Forces Japan personnel at all times.

Motorcycle Riders

Additional requirements for riding a motorcycle include completing the Motorcycle Safety Foundation's Motorcycle Rider Course/Riding and Street Skills (MRC/RSS). Completion of this course takes about 15 hours. An alternative to this course is MSF's Motorcycle Rider Course (MRC) (23 hours).

It is highly recommended that motorcycle riders and potential riders in Japan prepare by completing this course prior to PCSing due to the extremely limited availability of this course. The waiting list for this course can be long (3-12 months). Additional registration procedures are necessary and you must complete a period of on-base riding practice. Complete details are available from the Vehicle Registration Office.

If you do ship your motorcycle with your Household Goods, and it is thereby delivered to your off base residence, you will need to find a way to transport your motorcycle to the base (without riding it unlicensed) so you can complete the registration and riding practice requirements. 

In accordance with ALPACFLT 003/95 (040626Z Feb 95), rental of motorcycles, scooters or mopeds is prohibited in all foreign ports.

BicyclesBicycles are a very popular form of transportation in Japan. The following are required for every bicycle rider: A fixed, working light visible for 500 feet (for night riding), and both rear and side reflectors. Riders must wear light colored clothing at all times. During reduced visibility/night time reflective clothing is required. ANSI or SNELL approved bicycle helmets are mandatory for all SOFA sponsored personnel who ride bicycles.

All rules of the road which apply to motor vehicles also apply to bicycles, skates and skateboards.

Wearing portable headphones, earphones, or other listening devices while operating a motor vehicle or while jogging, walking, bicycling, skating or skateboarding on the roads and streets of FLEACT Yokosuka is prohibited.

Drinking and Driving

"None For The Road" is the motto we abide by on Fleet Activities Yokosuka.  Drinking and driving is not tolerated. Breath wand sobriety checks are conducted at random throughout the base. Consequences for Driving Under the Influence, Driving While Intoxicated and/or Driving While Drinking is Indicated can include vehicle impoundment, points assessed against the driving record, suspension of driving privileges, required completion of prevent, large fines, Driver Improvement Program (DIP) training and possible loss of SOFA Sponsorship. Appearance at Traffic Court is required for any citation.

Contact DSN 315-243-5647, internationally at 011-81-816-5647 or online for more information regarding CFAY motor vehicle and drivers licenses questions.


Associated Links

Navy Official Home Page
Generally applicable service wide information.

Need personal assistance?

Call your relocation manager »

Or, for 24/7 assistance, call Military OneSource. »

MilitaryOneSource.mil, No question is too big or too small 800-342-9647

Military OneSource Newsletter Subscriptions button

Plan My Move, Take control of your PCS move

Do you have orders?

Request a Sponsor »


Additional Resources

  • Expand Housing TreeHousing
  • Expand Household Goods TreeHousehold Goods
  • Expand Local Community TreeLocal Community
  • Expand Financial Planning TreeFinancial Planning
  • Expand Employment TreeEmployment
  • Expand Child Care TreeChild Care
  • Expand Education TreeEducation
  • Expand MWR TreeMWR
  • Expand Special Circumstances TreeSpecial Circumstances

Military Crisis Line

Safe Helpline