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Off-Base Dealers         On-Base Resales         Insurance

Just about everyone assigned to Misawa has a privately owned vehicle. The base is not huge but many places are too far to walk and many off-base activities are fairly far from the base. The area is rural and so mass transportation in the local area is rare. You will find a wide range of used vehicles available from dealers off-base or on-base from folks who are leaving. Mini-car, sedan, station wagon, truck or van; you can pretty much find what you are looking for.



Most vehicles available off-base are between 8 and 12 years old. Prices vary depending on age and size but, as a rule, they usually fall into these ranges.

Mini cars = $2,000 - $3,000
Passenger Cars = $4,00 - up.
Vans & Trucks = $6,000 - up.

When you buy a vehicle from an off-base used car dealer, you can usually expect to get a six month guarantee on it. The purchase price will also usually include two years Japanese Compulsory Inspection and Insurance. (The base requires additional insurance but more on that later.) You should always ask if the purchase price includes J.C.I. In addition, you can probably ask for and get snow tires for your car, with the purchase price.

There is one used car dealer just outside the main gate and four within a few blocks of the Falcon (or P.O.L. Gate). This makes for a good selection and the chance to make your best deal. You can sometimes play one against the other and maybe get a better deal.



An alternative is the on-base "Lemon Lot". This is a designated parking area on base where folks can park their vehicles that are for sale. You can find a wide range of vehicle types here. They are usually cheaper than you find from the off-base dealers, but are typically older and less well-cared for.

Prices range from $1500 up and vehicles are usually from 6 to 10 years old. You may find newer but that is rare. These are normally vehicles that folks bought from an off-base dealer, used for a few years and are trying to resell. Also, they usually don't carry any type of guarantee and they may or may not have any JCI left on them.

So, the deal with the lemon lot is, you can spend less but are taking more of a chance that the vehicle may not last. For more info, call 226-4654.



JCI is required by Japanese law and provides coverage for bodily injury or death of the other party, for which you are legally liable. Coverage is limited to 30 million Yen for death or permanent disability and 1.2 million Yen for injury. The costs are fixed according to vehicle type. For example, the cost for TWO years for a passenger car is about 28,000 Yen. A Light truck or can (mini-car) up to 660cc is about 20.000 Yen. A motorcycle over 251cc will run you about 23,000 Yen. The cash conversion rate has been flucuating between about 110 to 120 Yen to the dollar. Do the math.



JCI insurance requirements fall short of the coverage mandated by the US government, so you will be required to purchase additional coverage to register your car on base. Unlike the JCI, this insurance does not come with your vehicle when you purchase it. You must go to one of the many insurance offices near the base and purchase it separately.

This coverage includes Property Damage coverage as well as Excess Bodily Injury Liability coverage. Depending on driver's age, local driving record and type of vehicle, you can pay between ¥28,000 and ¥56,000 per year for minimum coverage.

Regardless of where you buy your new wheels, You must have both types of insurance coverage before trying to register your vehicle on base. The penalties are severe if you are caught driving with expired JCI or liability insurance. You can lose you license for 6 months or more. You don't want to have to walk, especially if you live off base. Pay attention to expiration dates.

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