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WRITTEN BYPatrick Bickford   

Shaken basically means registration in Japanese, but it is not the typical registration that you are used to back home.  You'll find that the cost is much more expensive in Japan but this is simply because liability insurance is automatically factored into the cost.


Shaken is one of the most important factors when buying a car. Every two years your car must go through it. For the average car (not K-car, SUV or sports car) shaken will cost anywhere from 60,000-200,000 yen.


Keep in mind, if one person is selling you a car that costs 50,000 yen with shaken due next month, and a second person is selling a car for 100,000 yen with the shaken due next year, the second car may well be the better buy.  Some Japanese people give away their older cars rather than bother with paying the shakken. I have personally given away a car to a new ALT and they were responsible for paying the shaken, which was 100,000 yen for 2-years.  Unfortunately, I have never have been on the receiving side of getting a free car.


Another shaken consideration is "When are you leaving?"  If you're only staying for a year then a car with more than a year of shaken may be worth paying more than one with shaken due that year. But, you may also want to consider the resale value of the car. You might want to time it so that if you are going to have to pay shaken, it comes as close to the time that you're leaving as possible so when you sell it, it will still have almost two years of shakken remaining.  In which case, you should be able to get a lot more money for it.

shaken consists of a renewing your car registration and basic liability insurance policy.  The shaken is good for two years for older vehicles.  In addition to the liability insurance, there is a second-type of car insurance you can buy, which is called "full-coverage" (任意保険 or にんいほけん).  Surprisingly enough, about 99.9% of all Japanese have this second insurance (honestly, I have no clue the percentage but I also haven't met a Japanese person who doesn't have it).  This is an optional insurance and you might be pressured into getting it by your contracting organization or dispatch company.  But, at the end of the day, if it's not in your contract that you must have this second insurance, it's your choice.  I personally have opted out of this insurance and have been pressured by my BoE to get it, but I held my ground and they dropped the subject.  Personally, I recommend the full-coverage insurance if you don't feel like you are a strong driver, or even if you think you are a strong driver because you never know the craziness you are going to find on the road in Japan.  It has been my experience that a lot of Japanese drivers have tunnel vision when they drive and don't pay attention to what's going on around their car.  I can't count the number of times I've experienced negligent driving on the roads here in Japan.


Also, keep in mind possible cost of (il)legitimate repairs a shaken mechanic shop says your car is going to need before it will pass shaken.  Repairs seem standard when you renew your shaken.  In my younger life, I have a fair history of experience with fixing cars: rebuilding and timing engines, replacing brakes, installing leafs, changing oil, fixing minor body damages, installing stereo systems, etc.  However, the first time I had shaken done on my first car in Japan, I was told I needed new brakes and a couple of other 'legitimate' repairs.  It was quite obvious my car didn't need those things right then but Japan tends to lean, I mean really lean, towards playing it safe than sorry.  And, mechanic shops won't renew your shaken without the repairs they recommend.




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This page was last modified on Wednesday, March 19, 2014 03:23:40 PM