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Buying a car - parking space question

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I want to buy a car, and I have been told by various people (and online information) that before I am allowed to buy I must show proof of having a parking space within 2km of my home.

I have no need for a car near my home (central Tokyo) as I always use trains or a bicycle to get around.
I will be using the car on weekends to drive outside Tokyo. My girlfriend lives in Kanagawa and has a house with space for 3 cars, so the idea is that my car will be parked there all the time.

What do I need to do (with regard to paperwork) to use her address as the parking location when I buy the car, given that it is much further than 2km from my official home address?
 
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Mike Cash

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Looks like you have four options.

1. Put the car in her name.
2. Just rent a car for your weekend drives.
3. Rent a parking space within 2km of your home
4. Give up the whole idea.

I J-googled around a bit for you in this and if there's another way I can't find it. This is a matter of law, not simply policy. You'll have to have the 車庫証明 (shako shoumei: proof of a place to park it off the street and within 2km as the crow flies) in order to register the car.

You could game the system by taking out the shortest rental contact you can get on a place near your home and just let the contact lapse at the end of the period and keep the car in Kanagawa. I have no idea what repercussions, if any, may arise from doing that. I suspect it would be "none".
 

Toritoribe

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The problem regarding tax and insurance would be raised for the case #1 (She must pay it, at least pro forma).
It might differ depending on the police office, but half year or one year length of contract of a parking place would be needed for 車庫証明, if my memory is correct.
 
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Thanks for your research and suggestions.

As you say, it's law rather than policy.

A ridiculous and impractical law, as there are numerous situations where a car would normally be parked elsewhere than someone's home: for example parking the car at a friend's or a relative's house, or leaving it at work. Or, in the case of living in central Tokyo, simply finding a cheaper parking location a bit further away.

You could game the system by taking out the shortest rental contact you can get on a place near your home and just let the contact lapse at the end of the period and keep the car in Kanagawa. I have no idea what repercussions, if any, may arise from doing that. I suspect it would be "none".
Yes, that sounds a simple solution, although based on Toritoribe's comments, possibly expensive.

The problem regarding tax and insurance would be raised for the case #1 (She must pay it, at least pro forma).
It might differ depending on the police office, but half year or one year length of contract of a parking place would be needed for 車庫証明, if my memory is correct.
My other thought is that I could somehow register a second living address (that of my girlfriend) - any idea whether that's possible? Perhaps it would require a contract of some kind, that I "rent" a room at her house for a very low amount?
 

Mike Cash

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A ridiculous and impractical law
Not really. As is the case with many laws that on their surface may appear not to make much sense, the phrase "there was a problem" comes up in the explanation.

There was a problem of people buying cars even though they had no place to park them. It really was a problem to the point of being a public nuisance. It used to be that kei cars were exempt, but that went away. It also used to be that the parking had to be with 500 meters, so things have actually been made easier.

A slight tangent, but there used to be a huge problem with vending machines as well. You may have noticed how incredibly thin many are front-to-back. They used to all be about double that deep. They stuck out blocking sidewalks, and in places where there were no sidewalks they often stuck far enough into the street to impede traffic.

Not everybody had a car and not everybody had a vending machine, but the ones who did were such self-centered nuisances to everybody else that everybody else had to reign them in through "ridiculous and impractical" laws.

My other thought is that I could somehow register a second living address
Pretty sure the requirement is based on one's principal residence.
 
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Not really. As is the case with many laws that on their surface may appear not to make much sense, the phrase "there was a problem" comes up in the explanation.

There was a problem of people buying cars even though they had no place to park them. It really was a problem to the point of being a public nuisance.
Sorry, I didn't make my point clear. I completely understand the reason for needing a parking space, and agree it's a good idea. What I think is ridiculous is the law requires it be within 2km of one's principal residence - which is both illogical and impractical.

Central Tokyo is extremely congested. It makes no sense to legally require people to bring more cars into the area when they are not going to use them there - that simply exacerbates the problem.

Far more sensible is to park the cars close to where they will be used.

While many cities around the world are actively discouraging people from driving in their city centres, this law is the opposite - it makes it compulsory.
 
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Toritoribe

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My other thought is that I could somehow register a second living address (that of my girlfriend) - any idea whether that's possible? Perhaps it would require a contract of some kind, that I "rent" a room at her house for a very low amount?
You don't need to register the address, but, yes, you need to certificate you are really living there by official documents such like receipts for electricity, gas or water charge, or letters/post cards sent to the address of your name.
 
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you need to certificate you are really living there by official documents such like receipts for electricity, gas or water charge, or letters/post cards sent to the address of your name.
Well, that's no going to work then...

It's completely nonsensical - what about people whose family has a big house - you can't park a car at your parents' place unless they live within 2km?

What about truck drivers? Are they not allowed to rent a remote parking space, but instead have to find a space big enough in the centre of the city and within 2km of their house?

What about caravan owners? Or boat owners? Are they too subject to this rule - they cannot moor the boat at the nearest river or lake, but have to find somewhere next to their house?
 
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Toritoribe

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what about people whose family has a big house - you can't park a car at your parents' place unless they live within 2km?
Yes.

What about truck drivers? Are they not allowed to rent a remote parking space, but instead have to find a space big enough in the centre of the city and within 2km of their house?
It's just OK within 2km of the office for the cars for business. They must have the parking place nearby their office, most likely in the suburbs especially for large vehicles.

What about caravan owners? Or boat owners? Are they too subject to this rule - they cannot moor the boat at the nearest river or lake, but have to find somewhere next to their house?
Those cars are not common in Japan, but, yes, 車庫証明 is also needed for caravans. However, under certain conditions, e.g., the caravan's length is 5.7m+ and width is 1.9m+, the parking place got authorization to park those cars, the limitation "within 2km" is not applied.

Mike-san clearly explained the raison d'être of this low.
 
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Thanks, Toritoribe. That helps make things a lot clearer.

However it still doesn't explain the reasons for the 2km restriction. As Mike-san explained, the law requiring one to have a parking space was brought in to prevent congestion, and it seems an excellent law.

However if a parking space is 10km away from an owner's home, in a convenient location to wherever they want to drive, easily accessible by public transport from their home, why is that considered a problem?

In fact, forcing such people to park within 2km of their home results in the exact opposite of what the rule was designed to prevent. It forces people to drive in and out of the area purely for the sake of parking.

Of course for many people, parking close to home makes sense. Driving between home and work, or driving kids to school for example, they want close proximity from their front door. But for other drivers, parking elsewhere makes far more sense. As long as one has a designated parking spot, one achieves the intended outcome of the law - to reduce road congestion.

So the question remains, why the 2km restriction?
 

Toritoribe

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If those cases are admitted, it's the same as no limitation. People will be able to purchase their car just because they have a parking place in their parents' home in rural area, they can go there via airplane, and they are going to use it only there. Police can't confirm whether they actually use it in Tokyo. In fact, if the parking place is relatively far away from their home, they might park their car nearby their home illegally someday in the future just because they feel it's a pain to go get the car the next day. 2km would a meaningful number, I suppose.
You need 車庫証明 to get your car, anyway. This is a requirement by law.
 

Mike Cash

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I should have been more clear.

I meant congestion caused by cars (illegally) parked all over the place. Requiring proof of a reserved place to park the car off the street in order to register it became the only practical way to mitigate the problem.
 
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I meant congestion caused by cars (illegally) parked all over the place. Requiring proof of a reserved place to park the car off the street in order to register it became the only practical way to mitigate the problem.
Yes, you were already very clear Mike, no misunderstanding.
I think we all agree that off-street parking is a great rule to impose. I just personally cannot see why it is unacceptable to use a parking space further than 2km from home.

Toritoribe pointed out that "if the parking place is relatively far away from their home, they might park their car nearby their home illegally someday in the future just because they feel it's a pain to go get the car the next day."

However they would then be subject to illegal parking fines, so I think that situation would sort itself out quite quickly.

Maybe my situation isn't typical, but I still feel it's ridiculous and illogical to have to drive all the way from Kanagawa to central Tokyo and back every day just to park the car. It's time-consuming, and a complete waste of money for fuel and the expense of a central Tokyo parking place, when all I want to do is drive in Kanagawa and from there to the countryside.

The alternative is to leave the car in Kanagawa but I'll still be forced to pay for an expensive parking place in Tokyo that will then go completely unused. Absolutely absurd.
 

Mike Cash

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I just personally cannot see why it is unacceptable to use a parking space further than 2km from home.
Because people would abuse the system by registering cars at their relatives houses in Timbuktu-machi and just parking illegally near their homes anyway.

However they would then be subject to illegal parking fines, so I think that situation would sort itself out quite quickly.
Experience shows that not to be a sufficient deterrent.

You must be an American. You obviously come from a mindset of viewing car ownership as a constitutionally protected god given right.

The system in Japan starts from the opposite proposition: that it is incumbent upon those who wish to indulge in an unnecessary luxury not to inconvenience others by doing so. Inconveniencing others is precisely what many self-centered car owners were doing. Sometimes to the point of making it difficult for emergency vehicles to get through. They caused a backlash and got reined in because of it.

Either get up off your wallet and rent a parking place near your home or register it in your girlfriend's name. Nobody expects you to be happy about it but those are about what your options boil down to. You'd probably come out better off just renting a car for your weekend jaunts, by the time you figure in all the other expenses that accompany car ownership and which nobody is going to give you a discount on just because it sits idle five or six days a week.
 
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Fair points. I'm surprised to hear about such arrogance from Japanese drivers though - in most situations, Japanese are so thoughtful and considerate.

I'm not American, and certainly don't view car ownership as a god-given right - I am actually quite against it, as I see the the fossil fuel industry as one of the most corrupt on the planet, giving scant regard to the untold amounts of environmental and social destruction it causes, all in the name of making more profits. I haven't owned a car since 1992, instead I cycle about 100km a week and use trains for all my transport. I am only considering a car purchase now due to a new relationship and work situation which might make it necessary.

But yeah, sounds like I'll just have to suck up the costs...
 

Mike Cash

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Fair points. I'm surprised to hear about such arrogance from Japanese drivers though - in most situations, Japanese are so thoughtful and considerate.
Oh, you'd be surprised. I've never been so disappointed in another group of human beings in my life as I was the first time I drove my truck in Kyoto.

"Thoughtful and considerate" go right out the window when people here get behind the wheel. If you've never been a member of the motoring public here you are in for an eye-opening.

But yeah, sounds like I'll just have to suck up the costs...
Make sure you know what all the costs are so you can make an informed decision. Maintenance, insurance, inspection, road tax, parking, tires, etc. Divide that up by how many days a year you think you might actually realistically decide to go for a joyride in the thing, be sure to adjust the number of days downward bit because over time the novelty will wear off and you'll find you don't enjoy sitting in traffic inching along with everyone else who wants to go to the same place at the same time to do the same thing (I think it may be genetic). You'll probably really not use it more than 3/4 the number of days you currently imagine you will.

Anyway, try to figure up some idea of what the thing is going to cost you per day out riding and then compare it to the cost of renting a car for the day. I live out in the sticks where parking is cheap, and all things considered it costs me ten thousand a month to have a kei whether I ever use it or not.

Your girl doesn't have a car you two can motor around in?
 
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Make sure you know what all the costs are so you can make an informed decision. Maintenance, insurance, inspection, road tax, parking, tires, etc.
Just in case Pavinder doesn't know what "inspection" means, it's called shaken in Japanese. Mandatory inspections at regular intervals depending on the age of the vehicle. Quite costly.

Also, as we have noted on a recent thread about a "bogus car accident", having minimally required insurance is not necessarily enough.
 

mdchachi

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I had a similar situation years ago. I could have got a car for almost free and I had a friend just a few km away who would have let me park it but I soon determined it wouldn't be easy to game the system and that it wasn't worth it. So I gave up the idea. I can guarantee that even if you rent a car once a month it would be cheaper than owning a car and parking it. The inspection system makes car ownership very expensive. These days there are also various car-sharing services that could be a good option as well.

In my case, I ended up getting a motorcycle license & motorcycle and using that for personal transportation around Tokyo including short outings with my girlfriend on the back.
 
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