You may think that there is a serious problem with a used car imported from Japan because of the low mileage on the engine or you may think that the salesperson is trying to scam you out of your money. The truth is that cars in Japan are known for having low mileage and are put out of service after only 4 or 5 years. The reason for this is the Shaken Law which governs the use of vehicles in this country.
What is the Shaken Law?
This is a vehicle registration program that involves the most stringent inspection of vehicles of any country in the world. Through this program the Japanese government can be sure that only safe vehicles are permitted to drive on the streets and highways of the country. Any vehicle that has been deemed to be unfit for driving has a red sticker applied making it against the law for the owner to use it.
How does this program produce low mileage?
It is a very expensive proposition to own a car in Japan or to drive one on a regular basis. If you watch any news broadcasts from Japan you will see that the majority of people use bicycles as the main mode of transportation. When you purchase a car in Japan you must first make an appointment at an approved Shaken center to have the vehicle inspected before you can get it registered. The fee for the first inspection of a new car is not costly – only about $18, but this is just for the paperwork. The inspection cost itself ranges from $1000 to $2000 dollars and then there is the fee for registering the vehicle. Then, the owner also has to have insurance in place and this is quite expensive. Estimates are that car insurance in Japan costs about ten times as much as it does in North America.
The vehicle has to be inspected after three years and the costs rise dramatically. Every possible part of the car receives a thorough inspection, even down to the plain details. AS the car becomes older it gets even more expensive to have this inspection carried out and the registration fees as well as the insurance costs increase with the age of the car. Thus it is not economically feasible to own a new car for more than four or five years. Some are sold as used cars after three years because it is much cheaper for the owners to purchase a new car than it is to renew the registration on an older model.
The Shaken program aids in the sale of Japanese cars in other parts of the world because it is very difficult to obtain a used car with such low mileage and one that is in such exceptional condition. Even if you are not in the market for a used car and you only need a replacement engine you would be wise to shop around for one that has been imported from Japan. You can be sure that the engine has been maintained on a regular basis and that it does have the actual low mileage you are looking for.
The roads in Japan are in good condition and because of the large numbers of vehicles speeding is rare. You know that the engine has not received any amount of wear and tear and that it is a good buy for you. Because of the restrictions placed on driving older cars in Japan it is entirely possible to purchase a vehicle with incredibly low mileage and save money by buying used rather than new.