Driver’s license in Japan

The other day, I was listening to my car radio. It was an international program by NHK, Japanese public broadcaster. In this program, two Americans talked about how difficult it is for some foreigners to get a driver’s license in Japan. They were also surprised that Japanese pay a hefty sum to get a driver’s license.

There are many ways to get a driver’s license, I will write about typical cases in my neighborhood.

There are many ‘driving schools’, where you go to learn driving. It is just like an ordinary school. You have to do at least 34 driving lessons, each lesson takes about 1 hour, and attend 26 lectures, each takes about 1 hour also. It costs about 280 to 300 thousand yen and more than two months. A driving school issues a certification that one has passed a drive skill test satisfactory. With the certification, you can take a final paper test to get a driver’s license at a Drivers License Center.

The young person who wants to get a driver’s license is decreasing in Japan. Many driving schools offer a discount for high school students. The driving schools let the drivers learn how to drive in a systematic way, which is good. But the expensive fee is an obstacle for the poor to get a driver’s license.

Almost all of these schools has school buses to bring students to/from their neighborhood.

A school bus

A school bus