A Local Perspective on Life in Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan.

IC-Chips in Licenses

Japanese driver’s licenses will have IC chips embedded in them as of January 2, 2007.

The IC chip will make the cards more difficult to fake and will include information such as place of birth, which means that such private information will not be visible on the card. There will also be a PIN associated with the card which should improve its security features. It is thought that the use of the card will increase due to this new feature.

The PIN will consist of two four digit numbers (####-####) that you will choose yourself, but once chosen, will not be possible to change. If you enter an incorrect code three times, you will have to return the card to the Mito licensing center or a local police station. You are strongly encouraged not to use numbers related to your birthday, address, phone number, license number, or license plate number, numbers that are too simple (1111 or 1234), numbers that are too convenient (7000), or double use of the same number (3512-3512).

People who obtain their licenses after January 4, 2007 will automatically be given the new IC-chip license. People who already have their licenses will be given the new license when they renew their current license.

The fees related to license will be increased by 450 yen due to the embedding of the IC chip.

Obtaining your first license: 2100 yen
Renewing your license: 2550 yen
Replacing your license: 3650 yen

There will be no change to current procedures for obtaining licenses as a result of the embedded IC chip.

If you have any questions, please contact the Ibaraki Prefectural Licensing Center at 029-293-8811. They are open from 8:30am to 5:15pm on weekdays. (It is unlikely that they will provide service in English.)

Source: Ibaraki Prefectural Police site

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