CAMP ZAMA, Japan – Japanese tax officials plan to come here April 12 through 15 to make it more convenient for community members to pay the annual road tax on their vehicles.
The one-stop program, which the Vehicle Registration Office here offers, will be held at Yano Fitness Center during different time slots based on drivers’ last names.
Tim Armstrong, police liaison officer, said the VRO will have English speakers available to assist vehicle owners. The process will also help drivers ensure their required documents, such as Japanese Compulsory Insurance, or JCI, are current.
“It’s a service that we provide that gets [customers] in and out,” he said.
Annual road tax can range from 500 yen for motorcycles up to 32,000 yen for ordinary trucks. Tax on vehicles with a 300 plate costs 19,000 or 22,000 yen, while a vehicle with a 400 or 500 plate costs 7,500 yen. All payments must be paid in yen.
The deadline to pay the road tax is May 31. If someone fails to pay by then and drives onto the installation, their vehicle may be booted until the tax is paid. Drivers without a current road tax decal on their car are not allowed to drive on any military base.
“In keeping in good partnership with the Japanese, we have to ensure that everybody does their part,” Armstrong said. “We use the roads and we drive on them, so we have to do our part to make sure that we help pay for them.”
Armstrong estimates that 60 to 80 vehicle owners do not pay the road tax on time, despite reminders from the VRO.
“We work and try to make sure we get them to do it before [May 31],” he said, adding the office also sends quarterly reminders to drivers with an expiring license or insurance.
About 2,100 vehicles are currently registered at Camp Zama, and Armstrong said that the majority of the owners will participate in this program.
If a driver cannot make it on the date that corresponds with their last name, the VRO may be able to help them on another day during the program next week.
“Based on the number of individuals that are in line at the time, we’re not going to turn anybody away,” Armstrong said. “We would prefer individuals to follow their assigned day to come in, so that way we’re not overwhelmed by a number of personnel.”
Those who do not take advantage of this program can still pay at the Sagami Land and Transportation Office or the Prefectural Government Office Building located on Route 51.
However, personnel with yellow-plated vehicles, motorcycles or motor scooters will need to pay at the appropriate city tax office in Zama City or Sagamihara City if they don’t use the program.
If the vehicle was registered at another office outside the local area, drivers will not be able to participate in the program and must pay the road tax through them.
Necessary documents to have when paying the road tax include the Japanese title, JCI, previous road tax receipt and proof of liability insurance.
Vehicle owners can contact the VRO at 046-407-3732/4337/4810 if they need assistance while at a LTO or tax office.
“Any issues that they’re having with registration or insurance, they can call us at one of these numbers," Armstrong said, "and we will be able to assist them while they’re sitting in the office.”