Japan Plate News


Vehicle registration plates ofJapan 


In Japan, the national government issues vehicle registration plates for motor vehicles through the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport Land Transportation Offices nationwide. However, the local municipality rather than the national government registers certain vehicles with small engine displacements. Broadly speaking, passenger automobiles with engine displacements at or smaller than 2000 cc receive 5-series plates, while passenger automobiles with engine displacements larger than 2000 cc or more receive 3-series license plates. The number on the top line begins with a "0" through "9" to indicate the series, followed by additional numbers for specific vehicle classification. Additional criteria includes a numerical representation signifying length, width and height of the vehicle. Official vehicles of the Imperial household are exempt from the requirement to display such plates. Official vehicles of the Self-Defense Forces, foreign diplomats, and the U.S. military are required to display other plates.

Night image of jiko-shiki (literally "self-glowing type", which means illuminated letters) plate, as might be issued in Osaka.

The plates are installed in both the front and rear of the vehicle, with the rear plate permanently attached to the vehicle with a prefecture seal completely covering one of the attaching plate bolts. The plate is only removed when the vehicle has reached the end of service and has been sold for scrap. New vehicles are not delivered to the purchaser until the plates have been attached at the dealershi

Since November 1, 1970, a "jiko-shiki" (字光式) plate has been offered for private vehicles at the owner's request. The green characters on this type of plate are replaced with molded green plastic that can be illuminated from behind the plate. From May 19, 1998, specific numbers can also be requested if the numbers are not already in use. From 2010, these are also available in blue.