Car Lease FAQ

Ans. A car lease is another way to drive a car without having to make a large payment upfront. You only pay for what you use. In other words, you will only pay for the amount by which the value of a car depreciates during the time you drive it
Q 2. Doesn't getting a car mean lots of cash and time?
Ans.  No large lump sum payments upfront.
 No deposit needed
 No hassles of purchasing, registering, maintaining, and then selling the car
 Maintenance and full insurance included*
Q 3. What is included in the lease fee?
Ans.  Full Insurance* (compulsory and voluntary)
 Options (for example, GPS navigation systems, ETC, a rearview camera, etc.)
 Registration (Shaken, parking certificate, compulsory insurance)
 Taxes (sales tax, vehicle tax, recycling tax, etc.)
Q 4. Is insurance included?
Ans. All lease vehicles come with full insurance coverage*.
Q 5. How long is the lease term?
Ans. Lease Japan leases cars for terms ranging from 12 months and up for new vehicles, and six months and up for used vehicles. We lease the car to suit your desired time frame.
Q 6. Do I need to pay a deposit?
Ans. No. We require no deposit to start a lease**.
Q 7. Can I choose the color of the car and any options I want?
Ans. Yes. The color of the car does not affect the lease fee***. You can choose any options you wish. These options are built into the lease fee.
Q 8. Is there an English GPS navigation system available in Japan?
Ans. Yes. Lease Japan will provide bilingual navigation systems whenever possible.
Q 9. What do I need to lease a car?
Ans. To lease a car and register it in your name, you will need the following items:
 Inkan (name stamp)
 Residence Card (zairyu card) or Resident Certificate (juminhyou)
 Car Park Certificate (shakou shoumeisho)
 Bank account
 Driver's License. It must be a valid and recognized license in Japan. (See www.JapanDriversLicense.com)
Q 10. Do you assist with obtaining the items mentioned in Q9?
Ans. Yes. Please contact Lease Japan directly for more information.
Q 11. What if I have an accident?
Ans. We offer all of our clients a FREE 7 day/24-hour helpline service for any emergency or problem with the lease car. We will help translate if needed, contact the police for you if required, lodge all insurance claims, have the vehicle repaired, and offer you a temporary car while your car is being repaired.
Q 12. Can I purchase my lease car at the end of the lease?
Ans. Yes. Please contact Lease Japan directly for more information.
Q 13. Can I sell my current car through Lease Japan?
Ans. Yes. We can assist you in selling your car through the car auctions or provide an introduction to an appraisal evaluator.
Q 14. What is the difference between a lease and a loan?
Ans. With a lease, you borrow the car. With a loan, you borrow money. Because you are not paying interest on a lease, your monthly payments will be lower. When a lease ends, you have a choice of:
 Changing cars to a newer car
 Extending the current lease
 Handing back the car
With a lease, all registration, insurance, and maintenance costs are included in the lease package.
Q 15. Can you tell if it is a lease car from the number plate?
Ans. No. All lease cars have standard number plates. On the registration paperwork, you are listed as the "User" of the car, and Lease Japan is listed as the "Owner."
Q 16. What is the difference between a lease car and a rental car?
Ans. When you rent a car, it is usually for a short term, and you can only choose a vehicle from what the rental car company has in stock. Also, you can not select options or colors. It is much cheaper to lease a car over the medium to long term than it will be to rent a car for the same period.
Lease Car
Rental Car
Medium to long term (6 months and up)
Short term (hours/days/weeks)
Lease company
Rental Car company
Rental Car company
Number plate:
Normal plate
All rentals have W.A. (わ) on the plates
Low monthly fees
High monthly fees
Unlimited - Your choice
Limited to what is available
Q 17. Can I use an International Driver's License?
Ans. Yes, for most countries**** (Please see the list of approved countries). However, by law, you are only allowed to use one International Driving Permit for a maximum of 12 months in Japan. After that, you must change to a Japanese Driver's License.
Q 18. Can Lease Japan help me get my Japanese Driver's License?
Ans. Yes. We can help you get your Japanese license. We have a comprehensive conversion assistance program in place to help clients obtain their Japanese license.
Q 19. Can I cancel the lease at any time?
Ans. No. While you can return the car early, all remaining installments must be paid in full at that time. For example, if you return the car on the seventh month of a 12-month lease, you will have to pay the remaining five months.
* Free regular maintenance and full insurance are provided with all new car leases. For used car leases, essential maintenance is also provided. Additional charges may be incurred for used car leases due to insurance policy rulings.
** No deposit is required for company signed leases. A Deposit will be required for individual contracts.
*** Special optional colors may require additional fees in some cases.
**** Only International Driving Permits issued under the authority of the Geneva Convention on September 19, 1949, are recognized by Japan.

Foreign Driver's License FAQ

Ans. It is possible to drive legally in Japan for up to one year on an International Driving Permit (IDP) issued by a signatory country of the 1949 Geneva Convention on Road Traffic (there are 95 countries & 2 regions which have signed this (as of March 5, 2011); notable exceptions include Brazil, China, Mexico, Russia, and Vietnam) (Japan Traffic Act Article 107 Provision 2) Before 2002, an International Driver's Permit (IDP) could be renewed repeatedly and used, with a valid overseas license, instead of formally applying for a Japanese driver's license. But, after the law changed, the use of an IDP was limited to (Japan Traffic Act Article Number 107.2)
Q 2. Who requires a Japanese driver's license?
Ans. Individuals who are planning to live in Japan for a period of more than twelve (12) months require a Japanese driver's license to drive legally on the road.
Q 3. Can Individuals who do not have an International Driving Permit obtain one during a short business trip home?
Ans. Regardless of the length of time spent in Japan, individuals who leave Japan on short business trips can not validate an International Driving Permit on their return to Japan. In such cases, individuals need to reside outside of Japan for three (3) months or more.
Q 4. Are individuals with International Driving Permits allowed to rent vehicles in Japan?
Ans. Yes, they may. Providing the permit is still valid; there are no restrictions against renting a vehicle.
Q 5. Is it true that individuals do not need to apply for a license until the International Driving Permit expires?
Ans. We strongly advise individuals to obtain a Japanese driver's license well before their International Driver's Permit expires. Individuals who use their International Driving Permit after the expiration date will be driving illegally. The penalties for driving without a license are severe and strictly enforced. Also, the insurance cover will be invalidated.
Q 6. Is it possible to convert licenses at any of the License Centers nationwide?
Ans. All applicants must apply for their license and take their tests within the prefecture, or city, where they reside.
Q 7. How long does the license conversion process take from start to finish?
Ans. The conversion process differs depending on whether an individual is required to take a written test and a driving test. For individuals who are not required to take the tests, we estimate two to three weeks. For individuals who are required to take the written test and the driving test, we estimate around four to six weeks, providing that individuals pass the driving test at their first attempt.
Q 8. Who is required to take the driving test?
Ans. The requirement to take the written and driving test is based on where the license was issued, not on an individual's nationality. Individuals holding licenses issued in the following places are not required to take either a written test or a road test: [contentblock id=countries]
Q 9. Why do U.S. license holders need to take the tests when their European counterparts do not?
Ans. Most E.U. countries have reciprocal agreements with Japan allowing individuals in possession of a valid license to convert without the need for taking a test. It is also worth noting that most U.S. states require Japanese license holders to take a test when relocating to the U.S.
Q 10. Will an individual's foreign license be surrendered upon obtaining a Japanese Driver's License?
Ans. No.