Fact Sheet Display

Automobiles

Used cars in Okinawa cost anywhere from $500 to $6,000, depending on the age of the vehicle, its condition, what accessories it has, etc. There are plenty of car dealers on island, and individuals departing Okinawa always have vehicles for sale in the Kadena Services Auto Resale Lot. Most vehicles are small and are not models you're likely to be familiar with in the United States.

Brand name vehicles include Honda, Mitsubishi, Mazda, Nissan and Toyota, for example, but the models and the standards to which they are built are particular to Japan. Additionally, there are usually a number of "larger" vans - approximately the size of a U.S.-made mini-van - available for purchase.

All vehicles must pass a Government of Japan (GOJ) inspection every two years, costing an average of $300 to $800. The cost of inspection will normally include the Japanese Compulsory Insurance (JCI) which is the equivalent of liability insurance in the U.S. People can tell when a vehicle's GOJ inspection is due by looking at the window stickers. The color of the large decal in the middle with the large number in the center reveals which year and day the GOJ inspection expires.

JCI is purchased for a two-year period and is required by Japanese law. This insurance covers death and serious injury up to 30,000,000 yen per person and hospitalization up to 1,200,000 yen. When looking for a used car, JCI plays a large part of the price of the vehicle. Normally, vehicles with little or no JCI cost much less than those with one or two years left of JCI. The price of JCI is included in the cost of vehicles sold by off-base car dealers.

"American insurance" (property damage insurance) is also required. As an example of the rates, a 30-year-old married staff sergeant can expect to pay about $250 a year for basic coverage, while a senior airman under 26 years of age can expect to pay a little over $600 a year. The rate depends upon a driver's age and rank.

Insurance firms are located on and off base. One is located at the USO adjacent to Gate 3, another is colocated with the auto hobby shop and another is adjacent to finance.

Shipment of any automobile manufactured after March 31, 1976, is prohibited. Anyone wanting to ship a vehicle manufactured before that date should contact the nearest traffic management office.

Joint Services Vehicle Registration Office on Camp Foster can assist with all matters related to vehicle operations, inspections, insurance, etc.

For more information, call 645-7481/3963.

Current as of October 2012