How to avoid radioactive cars from Japan (Updated)

Are you planning to purchase car from Japan? But you heard about Fukushima incident (2011) and worrying whether your car is safe or radioactive. Now, you should not worry. We prepared to you guideline on how to identify car from safe regions of Japan and how to avoid cars from radioactive contamination area. This method Export companies do not tell you because it may infringe their business and they may face high risk of money loss due to refunds and claims. But we think opposite, the more you open to customers the better they trust you and better is outcome.

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How to avoid radioactive cars from Japan (Updated)
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There is a fear that radioactive cars and trucks from Japan are sold to unsuspecting buyers around the world. This fear is proved to be real. But amount of cars shipped out from Japan is not significant. Though it has been reported that over several hundreds of radioactive cars has been identified in used car import countries of Central Asia and Russia, where their border inspections have facilities for checking radiation contamination.

Therefore no matter how strict is inspection check in Japanese car auctions, yards and ports, there is still possibility that some cars has been passed through control unnoticed. So how to avoid radioactive cars from Japan?

In order to screen what cars may have radioactive contamination we prepared for you a detailed guideline. By following it you minimize risk of getting radioactive car from Japan. This guideline based on identifying the prefecture where car is registered.

Therefore when you buy a car from Japanese exporter, please ask them to provide you initial photos from auctions and auction sheets. It is very important. Usually auctions provide two photos and auction sheet as a minimum. By checking the photos you can identify regions whence cars came to auction houses.

This method is quite simple, you need to check the number plates (Japanese License Plates) of the car. Number plates contain information on places where the car has registration (1.) It is written on the top part of Japanese number plates.

How to read Japanese license plate (numbers plate)

Secondly, you need to know the affected region in Japan, where the 137-cesium concentration detected as high.  Here is a map of affected prefectures in Japan. Colors show severity of radioactive contamination of the region.

Japan map of radioactive cars

As you may noticed, all information on number plates are in Japanese (except Kana text for number plates of vehicles owned by personnel of American base). So there is an English translation of all prefectural, regional and city names where number plates are registered. Region affected by radiation we highlighted similarly to the colors from  map.

Issuing office Marking
Prefecture Municipality Japanese English
Aichi Komaki 尾張小牧 Owari-Komaki
一宮 Ichinomiya
春日井 Kasugai
Nagoya 名古屋 Nagoya
Toyohashi 豊橋 Toyohashi
Toyota 三河 Mikawa
岡崎 Okazaki
豊田 Toyota
Akita Akita 秋田 Akita
Aomori Aomori 青森 Aomori
Hachinohe 八戸 Hachinohe
Chiba Chiba 千葉 Chiba
成田 Narita
Funabashi 習志野 Narashino
Noda 野田 Noda
Kashiwa
Sodegaura 袖ヶ浦 Sodegaura
Ehime Matsuyama 愛媛 Ehime
Fukui Fukui 福井 Fukui
Fukuoka Fukuoka 福岡 Fukuoka
Iizuka 筑豊 Chikuhō
Kitakyushu 北九州 Kitakyūshū
Kurume 久留米 Kurume
Fukushima Fukushima 福島 Fukushima
会津 Aizu
郡山 Kōriyama
Iwaki いわき Iwaki
Gifu Gifu 岐阜 Gifu
Takayama 飛騨 Hida
Gunma Maebashi 群馬 Gunma
前橋 Maebashi
高崎 Takasaki
Hiroshima Fukuyama 福山 Fukuyama
Hiroshima 広島 Hiroshima
Hokkaidō Asahikawa 旭川 Asahikawa
Hakodate 函館 Hakodate
Kitami 北見 Kitami
Kushiro 釧路 Kushiro
Muroran 室蘭 Muroran
Obihiro 帯広 Obihiro
Sapporo 札幌 Sapporo
Hyōgo Himeji 姫路 Himeji
Kobe 神戸 Kōbe
Ibaraki Mito 水戸 Mito
Tsuchiura 土浦 Tsuchiura
つくば Tsukuba
Ishikawa Kanazawa 石川 Ishikawa
金沢 Kanazawa
Iwate Yahaba 岩手 Iwate
平泉 Hiraizumi
盛岡 Morioka
Kagawa Takamatsu 香川 Kagawa
Kagoshima Kagoshima 鹿児島 Kagoshima
奄美 Amami
Kanagawa Aikawa 相模 Sagami
Hiratsuka 湘南 Shōnan
Kawasaki 川崎 Kawasaki
Yokohama 横浜 Yokohama
Kōchi Kōchi 高知 Kōchi
Kumamoto Kumamoto 熊本 Kumamoto
Kyoto Kyoto 京都 Kyōto
Mie Tsu 三重 Mie
鈴鹿 Suzuka
Miyagi Sendai 宮城 Miyagi
仙台 Sendai
Miyazaki Miyazaki 宮崎 Miyazaki
Nagano Matsumoto 松本 Matsumoto
諏訪 Suwa
Nagano 長野 Nagano
Nagasaki Nagasaki 長崎 Nagasaki
Tsushima
Sasebo 佐世保 Sasebo
Nara Yamatokōriyama 奈良 Nara
Niigata Nagaoka 長岡 Nagaoka
Niigata 新潟 Niigata
Ōita Ōita 大分 Ōita
Okayama Okayama 岡山 Okayama
倉敷 Kurashiki
Okinawa Ishigaki 沖縄 Okinawa
Miyakojima
Urasoe
Osaka Izumi 和泉 Izumi
Sakai
Neyagawa 大阪 Ōsaka
Osaka なにわ Naniwa
Saga Saga 佐賀 Saga
Saitama Kasukabe 春日部 Kasukabe
越谷 Koshigaya
Kumagaya 熊谷 Kumagaya
Saitama 大宮 Ōmiya
川口 Kawaguchi
Tokorozawa 所沢 Tokorozawa
川越 Kawagoe
Shiga Moriyama 滋賀 Shiga
Shimane Shimane 島根 Shimane
Shizuoka Hamamatsu 浜松 Hamamatsu
Numazu 沼津 Numazu
富士山 Fujisan
伊豆 Izu
Shizuoka 静岡 Shizuoka
Tochigi Sano とちぎ Tochigi
Utsunomiya 宇都宮 Utsunomiya
那須 Nasu
Tokushima Tokushima 徳島 Tokushima
Tokyo Adachi 足立 Adachi
Hachiōji 八王子 Hachiōji
Kunitachi 多摩 Tama
Nerima 練馬 Nerima
杉並 Suginami
Shinagawa 品川 Shinagawa
世田谷 Setagaya
Tottori Tottori 鳥取 Tottori
Toyama Toyama 富山 Toyama
Wakayama Wakayama 和歌山 Wakayama
Yamagata Mikawa 庄内 Shōnai
Yamagata 山形 Yamagata
Yamaguchi Yamaguchi 山口 Yamaguchi
下関 Shimonoseki
Yamanashi Fuefuki 山梨 Yamanashi
富士山 Fujisan

 

For example this Nissan GT-R is from 八王子 (Hachioji), Tokyo area. It is safe.
How to read Japanese number plates from car auctions

And this one is from  横浜 (Yokohama), also safe.How to read Japanese license plates from car auctions

Disclaimer: you may ignore all affected regions, however there is very small number of cars that may contain radiation even though their registration is completely safe regions. Reasons for that are two:

  1. It may be re-registered cars intentionally or unintentionally by dealers and exporters.
  2. Cars has been temporally visiting affected area. Usually these cars were driven by volunteers or helpers who drove to Fukushima Prefecture right after disaster.

2018.8 UPDATE:

Recently some auctions started to remove number plate information due to the privacy issues. Auctioned MERCEDES CLS 63:

Some cars has no number plates as they are already de-registered MERCEDES GELANDEWAGEN G500L:

gelandewagen-from-japan-g500l

No worries, here are another 2 methods to check where cars coming from:

One is checking auction sheet information. It should have number plate information. Auctions usually do not delete it from auction sheets:

mercedes-cls63-from-japan-auction-sheet

Look! Front and back number plates of WHITE MERCEDES CLS 63 are with some kind of grey censor bars, however information from Auction Sheet still contains actual information of plates. The car is from 春日部 (Saitama Prefecture) and here is full License Plates data:

春日部 301 ふ 3523

By the way, based on this information we have actually generated an image and this is how number plates were looked on the car:-)

japanese-license-plate-generator-front-back

You can also generate any number plate you like. Here is a link.

In case you want Aluminum replica of Japanese number plates we recommend you this product:

Ok. There is second method. For that we need to have copy of the Export Certificate for the car. All Car Exporters must have Export Certificates for the car, if the Exporter does not have the Export certificate, the vehicle cannot be exported from Japan. Some Exporters may not give you color copy of original document but they can provide you black/white copy.

export-certificate-for-car-radiation-check

Export Certificate is the document for vehicle de-registration, the Japanese equivalent of a title. It is very useful document and contains a lot of vital information. (For example, mileage. The mileage is totally genuine on it. However the mileage on the auction sheet can be higher then that on the export certificate. But not less then what is on the export certificate.)

Based on above Export Certificate we see the “Latest Number Plate Data” and we identified that car was registered in Chiba Prefecture (千葉) . This car was actually radiation over! It was first bought at JU CHIBA and later resold in USS TOKYO

export-certificate-car-number-plate-check

So now you know how to read number plates and can identify safe and dangerous cars.

If you bought already a car and not sure on safety of the car, please check radiation by Geiger counter. This one is very accurate and used by car auctions and car dealers:


Here is a places on the car that you need to check first:

If you have questions or comments please leave below.

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