So a couple of days ago I got a strange missive in my letter box.
I have to have my car safety tested. This is a big deal in Japan. The procedure is called Shaken.
Before a test can be administered on a vehicle the owner of the vehicle must call up a shaken center and make an appointment by phone after which the owner must fill out paper work at the center.
I didn’t do anything like that I just drove to a garage and mimed change my brake pads please. The guy said “Hai! Shaken Stevens!”
He gave me another car and mimed “Come back on Tuesday.”
The cost for the shaken is broken up as follows:
- ¥1,400 for paperwork and processing,
- ¥25,200 for the testing,
- ¥29,780 for 24 months of validity and
- ¥8,090 for the “Recycling Department” with fees being added depending on the vehicle and its intended use (business, personal, commercial, etc.).
A typical shaken costs between ¥100,000 and ¥200,000.
That’s ~ $1200 to $2400! Ouch!
If the vehicle is in good condition with no mechanical problems, the shaken costs about ¥60,000 for kei cars and includes 2 years of compulsory auto insurance. The higher costs quoted above are for regular automobiles, and the prices increases when the car requires repair or when extra fees are paid to third party companies to take the car in for the inspection.
In the US you can drive more or less anything, anyhow, anywhere. In Britain I remember the MOT. In France there was “La visite”. I do not remember either being very costly. The Japanese take roadworthiness seriously.
Anyway I now have a different car to drive around. It is an old Nissan Cube.
I stop off at my favorite fishing port to um buy some fish.
I get some Okinawan tempura – battered and deep fried in front of you. It is the best fast food in the world. I get two squid and two seaweed that are chucked scalding hot into brown paper bag. You then stand on the harbor side and eat it.
The shaken is the reason for the hordes of cheap Japanese cars on the roads in NZ. A great boon for the lower paid Kiwi what with the machines having their steering wheels on the God-given side of the vehicle and so on. The Japanese labels on some controls can be a bit of a puzzle but usually are non-fatal if misunderstood. Also a boon for the less well-heeled tourist as the lowest-priced car-hire companies offer these ex-shaken failure cars!
The sheer numbers of Japanese vehicles failing/becoming too expensive to pass the shaken led about 4 years ago to Kazakhstan tightening the rules on right-hand drive cars being imported – Kazakh drivers were good but ‘exhuberant’ and anything that lessened their view of the road was deemed a bad thing. Given their road death rate of 30.6/100,000 inhabitants in 2000 perhaps a sensible move.
I believe that the a driving-force (ta-raah!) behind the shaken was to drive older cars off the roads so ensuring a steady stream of customers for new vehicles from Honda and pals.
A whole lot of shaken going on
wow! Shaken costa mere CHF 65 here…
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