This article goes back some years but is a good base line. If you spot something incorrect, let me know so I can rectify it. Thanx


Japan has a point system (you get “points” for various bad things, and various extra penalties kick in when the points reach certain limits). There are two levels of inebriation with respect to driving. One is plain and simple “drunk” (0.05% BAC, I believe). The other I translate as “tipsy”, and is apparently a rather subjunctive observation of if you’ve been drinking or not.

In the following list of offenses and their respective point penalties, the second of a pair of numbers is the penalty if you’re “tipsy” when you’re nabbed. For example, riding w/o proper helmet is a 1 point violation unless the officer notices you’ve been drinking, at which it becomes a 7-point violation (and, as you’ll see, a one-month suspension of your license).

License suspensions in last 3 years Points for 1 month suspension Points for revocation of 1 year 2 years 3 years
none 6-14 15-24 25-34 35+
1 4-9 10-19 20-29 30+
2+ 2-4 5-14 15-24 25+

Points more than three years old disappear. Also, a one-year clean record (no accidents or tickets) clears all points. Note that speeding 30 km/h over the limit results in six points, which is a one-month license suspension. Ouch! [Believe me, I know]

If your license is suspended, you have the option of going to a class (one or two days long, depending upon number of points) to reduce the length of the suspension. At the end of the class, you take a test (they have an English test available) whose most difficult question is something like “true or false: you can drive as wild and rude and crazy as you like, so long as you don’t hurt anyone” (answer: false). Depending upon how well you do on the test (I got all answers correct; took three minutes), they reduce your suspension to as little as one day (that one day being the day you take the class, so you can’t drive to the test center).

(list as of July, 1991)

    offense      points

  • ——————————————————————
  • (酒酔い運転) drunk driving 15
  • (麻薬等運転) driving while under the influnce of drugs 15
  • (共同危険行為等禁止違反) 15
  • (無免許運転) driving without a license 12/13
  • (大型自動車等無資格運転) driving a truck w/o proper license 12/13
  • (仮免許運転違反) ???offense WRT a temporary license?? 12/13
  • (酒気帯び運転) driving while tipsy 6
  • (過労等運転) driving while imparied (tired, etc.) 6
  • (無車検運行) operating vehicle w/o appropriate SHAKEN 6/ 9
  • (無保険運行) operating vehicle w/o insurance 6/ 9
  • (速度超過、50km以上) speeding more than 50 km/h over limit 12/13
  • (速度超過、30km以上50km未満) speeding 30-50 km/h over limit 6/ 9
  • (速度超過、25km以上30km未満) speeding 25-30 km/h over limit 3/ 8
  • (速度超過、20km以上25km未満) speeding 20-25 km/h over limit 2/ 7
  • (速度超過、20km未満) speeding up to 20 km/h over limit 1/ 7
  • (信語無視、赤色等) running a red light 2/ 7
  • (信語無視、点滅) ignoring a flashing (caution?) signal 2/ 7
  • (通行禁止違反) driving where you’re not allowed 2/ 7
  • (通行図分違反) 2/ 7
  • (急ブレーキ禁止違反) sudden braking when you shouldn’t 2/ 7
  • (追越し違反) passing violation 2/ 7
  • (路切不停止等) 2/ 7
  • (優先道路通行車妨害等) not yielding right-of-way 2/ 7
  • (交差点安全進行義務違反) undue caution in an intersection 2/ 7
  • (徐行場所違反) offense in a “go slow” zone 2/ 7
  • (指定場所一時不停止等) stopping where you shouldn’t (?) 2/ 7
  • (放置駐車違反) leaving car unattended offense
  • (駐停車禁止場所等) in no-stopping zone 3
  • (駐車禁止場所等) in no-parking zone 2
  • (駐停車違反) trying to park offense
  • (駐停車禁止場所等) in no-stopping zone 2/ 7
  • (駐車禁止場所等) in no-parking zone 1/ 7
  • (整備不良、制動装置等) bad brakes and the like 2/ 7
  • (整備不良、尾灯等) bad taillight and the like 1/ 7
  • (積載物重量制限追越) exceeding load limits
  • (10割以上) by more than 100% 2/ 7
  • ( 5割以上10割未満) by 50-100% 2/ 7
  • ( 5割未満) by less than 50% 1/ 7
  • (安全進行義務違反) not using due caution 2/ 7
  • (免教条件違反) restriction (i.e. eyeglasses required) 2/ 7
  • (乗車用ヘルメット着用義務違反) not wearing appropriate helmet 1/ 7
  • (自動二輪車乗車方法違反) motorcycle/scooter violation 1/ 7
  • Most of the other offenses (too many to list) are “1/7” offenses.

If case of accident, points to add if deemed you caused; and are:

Completely Responsible Somewhat Responsible
Manslaughter 13 pts. 9 pts.
Major Injury 9 pts. 6 pts.
Light injury or property damage 6 pts. 4 pts.

If you leave the scene of an accident, add 10 or 5 points based upon the circumstances.

Note that the above can be combined. For example, running a light while tipsy and causing a minor accident will result in at least 33 points and your license being revoked for two years. Each penalty has its own cash fine (a 30-50 km/h over the speed limit fine was 40,000 yen in 1993). ON TOP OF THAT, you’ll have the following point-based license suspensions/revocations.

All of the above is referenced from the great site

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