Why buy exported Japanese Cars?

Many countries export cars, but the Japanese used car market is unique. Due to strict laws imposed by the Japanese government, newer cars are often cheaper to own than used cars. 

Allow me a moment to explain. In Japan, every car must be regularly maintained and inspected. The regular maintenance inspections are called “shaken.” When you buy a new car, you receive a sticker to display on your front windshield. The sticker indicates that the vehicle has passed the strict inspection laws and is road-worthy.

For new cars, the shaken sticker lasts 3 years. But after that, you must get the car inspected every two years.

Now, these inspections are very strict and any modification of the car will cause the car to fail the inspection. Even a broken taillight will cause the car to fail. Even if the wheels are out of alignment, the car will fail the inspection. So the car must undergo a thorough maintenance before the inspection. This is very expensive in Japan. It can easily cost thousands of US dollars. Even if the car is in perfect condition, the shaken inspection still must be done and it may cost thousands of US dollars.

Now, it is usually cheaper to pay for shaken inspection the first time (a three year old car), but the shaken cost increases every time you do it. So shaken inspection is more expensive at five years than three; and more expensive at 7 years than five.

So, this is bad news for Japanese consumers; but for overseas consumers, it is wonderful news! Nearly all Japanese used cars are rigorously and professionally maintained. Many have very low mileage. And yet you, the consumer, can buy them at a fraction of what they are worth.

By John Scott

I was born at a very young age.

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