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Americans are subject to new parking rules

Date Posted: 2006-06-02

The quest to rid Okinawa streets of illegally parked cars takes on a new look starting today.

Police, who have found themselves too busy to really focus on illegally parked cars that impede traffic across the island, are today turning to private companies to wield the ticket books against violators.

Nationwide, the National Policy Agency will use 1,600 people to patrol the streets looking for illegally parked cars. Here, the initial focus will be on Okinawa City and Naha.

The move comes four years after traffic laws were revised across Japan, with drivers paying little attention. Okinawa police say the new procedures will be used in the Kadena Gate 2 area, with particular attention to Route 330, Goya Intersection, Korinza area and Park Avenue.

Americans are not exempt, police warn, and will be ticketed just like a Japanese. Fines for illegal parking can run to Y25,000 ($250). Police also warn that even short spurts of illegal parking will not be tolerated. Under old systems, police would mark an illegally parked vehicle, then return 30 minutes later to check. If it was still there, a ticket would be issued.

Tickets issued by the private companies are legal and binding, as the work is performed under supervision of Japanese police.

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