Vehicles manufactured after 31 March 1978 are not authorized to be shipped to Misawa. It is not advisable to ship a car to Misawa for several reasons – high cost of extensive modifications needed to meet Japanese emission controls ($1,000 or more), lack of replacement parts, and steering wheel on “wrong” side of the vehicle makes driving hazardous. Vehicles may need to be converted back to original condition prior to shipping back to the U.S. for conformance with EPA/DOT standards.
Reliable transportation can be easily obtained, either on-base or off base, ranging from $1,000-$5,000. You may ship a motorcycle to Japan in your HHG shipment if they meet the emission and brake laws. For return shipment to U.S., you must show proof of shipment from the U.S. (use of inventory is valid). Motorcycles (50cc or more) must meet EPA/DOT requirements or your shipment will be held by U.S. customs at the port of entry.
To obtain a Japan driver’s license; you must have a current and valid stateside license and take a written test. Japan uses international road signs, which are a little different than the States. We also drive on the “wrong” side of the road, which takes a little getting used to. Driver’s Training is offered to new personnel every Wednesday and driver’s licenses are issued at that time.