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Y-Plate American vehicles remain exempt from law

Date Posted: 2004-05-14

A law passed six years ago requiring American vehicle owners to comply with a Japanese law on obtaining certain special certificates is being ignored.

Officials report that the law passed in June 1998 requiring Americans to obtain a garage certification when the vehicle was registered is still not being enforced.

The Ryukyu Shimpo newspaper interviewed the Foreign Ministry recently, asking why. Asked for an answer about the Okinawa Prefecture Military countermeasure section, he Ministry reports ”There are still discussions going on.”

All Japanese vehicle owners are required to obtain the garage certirfiction paper when registering their cars. Okinawa General Bureau officers say “we are waiting for the official answer.”

Y-plate numbers have an exemption, and Okinawa Socialist Party House of Representatives member Kantoku Teruya says “I don’t think it’s fair to everyone. Even the SACO agreement doesn’t say anything about exemptions for Y plates. I am upset at the Japanese government.” He also said he’s “upset at the Japanese government,” asking why they “don’t keep the rules.”

The Okinawa Peace Campaign Center chairman, Shikou Sakiyama, says “Y plate numbers members don’t pay the fee for highway charges, and the car tax also has a discount system that doesn’t apply to Japanese. Why doesn’t Japan say anything to the American military. It’s discrimination.”

Japanese citizens typically don’t know about the special rules for the U.S. military. Usually, the questions come from tourists who ask “what’s that number. What is the meaning of the Y plate?”

One complaint was that the Japanese felt like he was in an overseas country, because the Y numbers give a special attitude to the Americans.

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