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Japanese car rentals include stickers that read: 'A foreigner is driving'

108 Comments
By SoraNews24

Japan has been really hard at work in preparation for the Olympic Games, and a whole slew of changes have been made in an attempt to help tourists adapt, from a revision in map icons to lifting the restrictions on tattooed bathers.

One more way the nation is bracing for an influx of tourists is by reviewing road safety. The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport is working in coordination with police, tourism boards, and car rental associations, and by analyzing data from recorders on board rental cars, they can pinpoint areas where sudden braking occurs as potentially hazardous to foreign visitors.

Using this sophisticatedly acquired information these groups can take precision measures to combat the incidences of accidents involving foreign drivers. So what measures are being taken?

Stickers!!

The friendly deer-bear’s pink sticker in the photo above says “A Foreigner is Driving.”

Yes, a new trend of stickers which read “A Foreigner is Driving” is gaining momentum among the country’s car rental associations. They’ve been in use in Okinawa and Hokkaido for a while and notify everyone on the road that you are not from around here, or in the words of the Okinawa Rental Car Association, “to show that the driver is a foreigner who is not accustomed with the traffic rules of Japan.”

We should all read, “show” to mean “grossly assume” in this instance, and what exactly other drivers are supposed to do differently with this information is anyone’s guess. It’s kind of like when Marge Simpson bought a “Baby on Board” sticker so people would stop intentionally ramming the family car.

okinawa.jpg

Norimono News asked the Okinawa Rental Car Association whether accidents involving foreign drivers were on the rise. They said while serious accidents did not increase, there has been a rise in minor bumps and scrapes. Okinawa has reported a 300-percent increase in these accidents from 2014 to 2016.

That sounds like a lot, but when you consider the overall population of foreign drivers in Japan has risen by 400 percent between 2011 and 2015, it doesn’t sound like there is a particular spike in foreigner-related traffic going on at all. There’s simply more out there.

The desire for stickers is not surprising though, Japan is a sticker-happy country and already affixes special ones to vehicles belonging to the elderly and newly licensed drivers. And unlike those ones, foreigner stickers are not required by law.

Furthermore, they’re actually “sticker-magnets” that are removable. This is because the message “A foreigner is driving” means different things to different people. For example, to a thief it means: “This driver probably has a lot of cash and belongings inside.” Or to a right-wing ultranationalist, it means: “Please deface this car.”

Nevertheless, despite their specious benefits and increased risk to the user, these stickers are gaining traction and may be seen nationwide in the near future.

Source: Norimono News, Response

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108 Comments
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“to show that the driver is a foreigner who is not accustomed with the traffic rules of Japan.”

As opposed to the Japanese drivers who rent cars, know the traffic rules, but choose to break them anyway.

Not mentioned in the article is the huge increase in accidents involving JAPANESE drivers as well. Okinawa is soon to hit the 10,000,000 mark in tourists, and over 20% of those tourists come from foreign countries, so there is bound to be more accidents, purely because people don't know the roads and are focused on their car navi's instead of paying attention to driving.

わ and れ numbered cars are ALL to be avoided, doesn't matter if it's a "foreign" or "domestic" driver!

8 ( +18 / -10 )

Wow how racist can you get? I demand a sticker for paper drivers, drivers with glasses, drivers listening to music, drivers with navigation systems, drivers with passengers with no seats belts on, drivers wearing high heels or crocs... The list goes on...

-1 ( +20 / -21 )

I drive better than 99% of the people here in Japan. They should give me a discount.

More nationalist bull*#% unnecessarily being thrown into everyone's faces.

0 ( +19 / -19 )

They need to get 90 year old taro off the road instead.

22 ( +27 / -5 )

On the other hand it might be helpful in allowing courtesy to be shown to those unfamiliar with the area?

11 ( +18 / -7 )

Sure but that could as easily be a Japanese person that is unfamiliar..

I actually think their hearts are probably in the right place.. just that familiar disconnect in Japan between how people want to be treated and categorized.. or not.

15 ( +19 / -4 )

This is so wrong on so many levels!!! I drive almost everyday in Tokyo. I will refuse that sticker when I fly out to someplace and rent a car. Been driving here for 35 years with NO accidents. Trust me Japanese are not any better drivers than any other country. People are People when it comes to the roads. Just less road rage here and more manners. Also, seems to make it easier to place blame if an accident occurs. I am most positive that a police officer will lean more towards the side the Japanese national once they see the sticker. I can see it now, "Oh a Gaijin. Must have been his/her fault."

8 ( +25 / -17 )

Incidentally, I suspect there are non-japanese that would be more suited to driving in Hokkaido or Okinawa than some that have never ventured out of Tokyo..

5 ( +12 / -7 )

Lol but but,omotenashi.....

-5 ( +6 / -11 )

I drive better than 99% of the people here in Japan. They should give me a discount.

If you actually drive here, and you are a "safe driver" then you would be getting a discount, on your drivers insurance. Not to mention the "Safe Driver" card you can apply for and get when you renew your license here, which also gives the holder all sorts of discounts all over the country.

I AM a good driver, large vehicle, including being licensed to drive, city buses, tractor-trailers, tank lorries, with a gold license, everything,and been driving here for well over 30 years, get a 60% discount on my insurance.

The "tokyu" system of gaining points, up to 20, with a discount at each step, is YOUR discount.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Since 1981.. If you drive here and have a Japanese license I doubt they would be slapping a sticker on the car.. now that would be outrageous if they tried.. I sure as hell wouldn't accept that either.

15 ( +16 / -1 )

Also, seems to make it easier to place blame if an accident occurs. I am most positive that a police officer will lean more towards the side the Japanese national once they see the sticker. I can see it now, "Oh a Gaijin. Must have been his/her fault."

Unless there is an obvious law broken, ok sometimes not so obvious, the cops just write a report and the insurance companies determine fault. Most minor accidents, if no laws have been broken, the drivers will not have any points accessed to them, it's just an accident.

Also, and this part of the comment is not directed towards you here, just a general statement, there are most definitely cases where the insurance companies will find one or the other driver at fault for 100%. It's pure urban legend and BS that "being at the scene" is enough to have to pay.

JP's lean to the side of people who live in the prefecture of the car being driven, out of prefecture licenses and rental cars sometimes get no mercy.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

id like to see an orange emergency vehicle light on top which turns on whenever someone is playing Pokémon go, watching TV or using their phone.

16 ( +18 / -2 )

Believe it or not.... the Japanese do get ticked off when another driver is doing something not in line with normal driving behavior in Japan and yes, will beep their horn. I think this is a way were the Car Rental Company can somehow apologize ahead of time for any possible infractions by their foreign renters. But to me it is also another example of Japan's infant mentality, inability to be flexible and ignorance.

2 ( +10 / -8 )

Everyone thinks that they're an above-average driver.

(I know that was way too esoteric for this crowd, but I thought I'd give it a try anyway.)

10 ( +16 / -6 )

I can see a need for something like this. Japanese road laws can be very confusing for foreigners. They should also include a handbook with an explanation of the rules.

Heres a shortlist of laws that need to be explained:

speed limits: these are only guidelines. In fact, in back streets they translate to, go as fast as you possibly can.

Stop signs: these look like 'give way' signs and should be treated as such. Stopping is unnecessary.

Traffic signals: an orange light means, you must accelerate to a reckless speed and zoom through the intersection. You have up to 10 seconds to shoot through the intersection after the light turns red.

Seat belts: totally optional, especially for children, front or back

indicators: totally optional. You only need to use them at the last second before you turn

pedestrian crossings: These are locally known as, 'skittle zones' it is perfectly acceptable to weave your way through any group of pedestrians that may be on the crossing. Pedestrians are advised to use crossings at their own risk

using cell phones: This is actually mandatory. If you are not using your cell phone or watching TV on your NAVI you may confuse other drivers with your total concentration

Scooters: These are exempt from all traffic laws and may use the left hand side of the road or the center line between lanes as their own personal race track.

The police: they will sit at predictable and regular places with their radar trap hiding behind guard rails in an attempt to raise their monthly revenue. However, this usually only happens at the end of the month. If you do get stopped by police, they will often give you tissues instead of a fine.

Advice for foreign drivers: You must be a total butt hole and cut off any driver you can, stop where ever and whenever you like. It is also perfectly acceptable to block an intersection when turning.

I think this this information would help a foreign driver adjust to Japanese road laws.

18 ( +32 / -14 )

Or to a right-wing ultranationalist, it means: “Please deface this car.”

Haha... I like this one.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Sjeesh the outrage. Don't get your panties in a twist. The stickers are the same as "elderly drivers", and "child in cars stickers". Since Okinawa, Hokkaido have a lot of tourists from abroad who might not be aware of all the traffic laws they thought it would be good to have these stickers so that OTHER people can be more careful around THEM when driving. You should see that as a positive thing. Everyone jumping on the racism bandwagon is exaggerating.

2 ( +12 / -10 )

Idea for a social experiment :

Put these stickers on half the buses in a chosen city, and compare the number of passengers between vehicles with and without it.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

@NZ, if you think driving in Okinawa is a breeze, you haven’t driven in Okinawa.

IF the Japanese cops actually enforced the rules and regulations of the road and made them safer they’d also get rid of the national debt in 6 maths with all the fines and penally money they’d collect.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

I wished i had a sticker like this when i was driving in LA on vacation. I am not so used to driving on the other side of the car, and while i had no issues, it does make checking blindspots a bit slower. I imagine its the same feeling for drivers coming from the US or other left-hand drive countries. "yo give me some room, i am just getting used to this"

3 ( +5 / -2 )

So, if you are a foreign resident with a Japanese license, that means you should know the rules, right? Does this mean the stickers are for foreign "visitors" or are they putting stickers on any foreign looking person regardless of their residence? I have to say, the thing that got me the most when I started driving here were the horizontal stop lights and the fact that they are red all the time and the green arrow is darned hard to see and confusing with regards to when you can actually turn. I understand now, but at first...

Also with all the visual pollution with seemingly no business sign codes and inconsistency in placing road signs, it is difficult to see stop signs and yield signs at all. Often times, the No U-Turn marks are on the road 50 meters behind the intersection and no sign at the intersection itself. The inconsistency and extreme road marking is what is most confusing here. Information under and overload all at the same time.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

UK

Wasnt suggesting it was a breeze just that coming from a country with lots of open road driving that was more similar to Hokkaido than Tokyo in many ways and have seen people struggling to drive in a consistent way in those situations.

Been to Okinawa a few times not haven't driven there.

The biggest issue I have with the actual practice of driving in Japan is the lack of clarity of where you are to stop while waiting for lights, often the lines are almost completely gone and unlike NZ there aren't two sets of lights, one where you stop and another on the opposite side of the intersection.

As far as driving in general, unrestrained kids is a worry and most of all the idea that pedestrian crossings are a

suggestion, if you can be bothered...

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

Deeply offensive. How about stickers that say "Japanese person driving"? I'd be willing to bet that, proportional to population, drivers who are ethnically & legally Japanese are far worse on the roads of Japan in every way than non-Japanese drivers. Most speed like crazy, ignore stop signs, bully bicyclists & terrorize pedestrians at crosswalks regularly. And the police rarely do anything about it; they just go out a few times a year for their high-profile traffic safety campaigns. When I fight back, as a bicyclist or pedestrian, drivers usually say, "You don't know Japan's traffic laws! Do you even have a driver's license?"

-3 ( +8 / -11 )

What is it with Japan and the word "Heartful"?

7 ( +11 / -4 )

I have only had my Japanese license for four years. I have used rental cars in Okinawa many times and have never found this sticker on the back of the car. If I ever do i will just take it off before I drive out of the parking lot.

Could it be for tourists who are driving using an international license?

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Some people need to chill a tad on the "racist" front, as a foreigner living here I don't find it offensive, and get the intention of it.

As stated they are not mandatory, they are intended to give a visual que that the driver isn't familiar with Japanese roads, and more than likely also can't read the signs (not the obvious speeds ones) (Oh and the confusing stop sign which really does break global standards).

I have rented cars in Okinawa a few times when have family members or friends visiting and need more space , I have booked under my Japanese license and never once was given the sticker, when I added my father as a 2nd driver once, they asked if I would like one for him to use.

I try keep an extra eye out on わ and れ , cars to make sure don't do anything too crazy near me, throw on a learners tick, or this sticker and even more aware of them.

As eluded to above these are really issued for foreign issued drivers licenses, not specifically foreigners, once they see you have a Japan license they don't bother to offer it. But "A person with a foreign country issued driver’s license" doesn’t quite have the same ring to is for the sticker.

4 ( +10 / -6 )

I can't wait to see Debito's take on this. I can just imagine his blood pressure rising at this terrible racism! LOL.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

Actually living here and cycling for 17 years, I can tell you that most Japanese ( atleast in the big cities ) are absolutely horrible drivers, atrocious in fact , mostly due to majority of them are holiday / weekend drivers only and dont even get me starting on taxies that regularly run reds with total impunity and entitlement and the 90+ blind /deaf ones... so .. maybe the foreigner driving sticker is more like - here learn how normal people should drive.

8 ( +13 / -5 )

So long as they are not mandatory, I don't see the problem. If you are nervous as a foreigner on Japanese roads and think this might help you, go ahead and use it. If not, don't.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

I don't mind slapping this sticker when i drive in japan. But, shouldn't the english translation be "Foreign Drivers" instead of "Heartful friendship in Okinawa" or "Friendly Driving in Hokkaido" ? I can't help but feel like they are taking advantages of foreigners who can't read japanese.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

Wow, I've been here way to long.

l thought Bintaro's expression, half the buses in a chosen city was some kind of obscure reference to Korea....

0 ( +3 / -3 )

The idea is for other drivers to be aware and have some patience because a non-Japanese reading tourist who may not fit in perfectly with driving in Japan is at the wheel

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Last year I visited Okinawa almost every month for business trip. Every time I rent a car and when the staff noticed my golden driving license, they never offered me this sticker.

Okinawa is driving nightmare, permanent traffic jams, blocking lines because drivers want to pass yellow line and go to opposite side because shop/restaurant etc. It is like giant slalom between them. Some roads changing lines during the day or depends on traffic. In the morning there were 3 lines for one way, afternoon are 2 lines and one is for opposite traffic...can be confusing..

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Do they do "A moron is driving" versions?

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Furthermore, they’re actually “sticker-magnets” that are removable. This is because the message “A foreigner is driving” means different things to different people. For example, to a thief it means: “This driver probably has a lot of cash and belongings inside.”

Ha, so delinquents know who to harass on the road, lol

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Good old exclusivist Japan; get those micro-aggressions in there! Gotta show the person is different, because even if they've lived and driven here for more than 20 years and rents a car, it's not the same as a Japanese kid who got his license one month ago.

Hell, they even discontinued use of the "momiji mark" sticker to show it's a senior driver some time ago, and they introduce this??

Just give it some bad media now before the Olympics and suggest it'll give a negative impression of Japan and it'll vanish overnight.

-11 ( +4 / -15 )

 Does this mean the stickers are for foreign "visitors" or are they putting stickers on any foreign looking person regardless of their residence? 

It's for folks who use rental cars only.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

All rental cars should have english and Chinese gps/navi systems. All rental cars should have a sticker that says a tourist. Inside the car, drive on the left side of the road. It's common sense. Let's be safe out there!

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

Seems to me it would work the same way as the brown/green leaf stickers you see on some cars in Japan. Just letting other drivers know to show a little patience if you see someone driving slowly. Perhaps, if they didn't make this exclusively for the use of foreigners and made it available to anyone not familiar to the area or the driving circumstances, people might find this idea less offensive.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Talked about this years ago on Debito.org.

Hokkaido (2016): http://www.debito.org/?p=13942

Okinawa (2015): http://www.debito.org/?p=13610

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

I don't see what all the fuss is about this sticker is but I think it would be a much better idea if they only rented Noddy cars to foreigners.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

I think it would be a much better idea if they only rented Noddy cars to foreigners.

If you rent a k-car thats pretty much what you get. My last one looked like it had fallen off a Christmas tree.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Is Japan becoming traffic rasistic country? The sticker is like David's star on Jews in Germany.

-8 ( +4 / -12 )

Hopefully well-intentioned, but again merely reinforces an 'us vs them' mentality. Like the article says, though, they are removable, thus voluntary. I'd simply remove it, take it back into the office and say, 'No, thanks.' (Then, of course, I'd probably crash into someone on the way out of the parking lot)

It reminds me of the signs they erect one month before my town's annual international bicycle race, reminding people, in English, not to run red lights. By the time the race is done, my eyes have rolled so much they've almost fallen out.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

How about a 'Twat using his phone' sticker, or 'Moron watching his in-car TV'? Not to mention an 'Idiot gambling with their child's life by not strapping them in' sticker?

I am sick of this xenophobic Japanese v Foreigner patronising bollocks.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

@Luddite

I hear ya. I think those are indicated by a lack of a sticker. I'd add a 'I'm not stopped, but I'm not going either. I'm just drifting forward slowly so no-one has any idea what my intention is.' non-sticker.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

All rental cars should have english and Chinese gps/navi systems. 

If you rent from the major rental agencies they have them in Japanese, Chinese, English and Korean.

I am sick of this xenophobic Japanese v Foreigner patronising bollocks

Then you must be sick of the special needs markers on cars for drivers who need them, the elderly clover mark and the new driver's mark too.

Get over it, it's not being xenophobic, there are a few ignorant types that see a conspiracy behind every stop sign, but these are not one of them. It's a way of identifying a driver who is unfamiliar with the roads.

It's no big deal and hardly anyone pays attention to them anyway.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Well done these company's. In New Zealand we do not do this. A lesson to be learnt.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

That weird animal on the sticker looks like an alien from Futurama. This is xenophobic and discriminatory.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

This is xenophobic and discriminatory.

Ok, then what do you call the new drivers markers that are mandatory for all newly licensed drivers in Japan? They must keep them on the car they are driving for one year.

How about the elderly driver stickers? The special needs one's too.

If you think the foreign driver one's are discriminatory and xenophobic then you MUST have an opinion about the other's one's as well that is just as insightful....well?

If you have no problem's with the one's I mentioned then your comments show you are the one who is discriminatory and xenophobic!

2 ( +5 / -3 )

I have NEVER been so shocked. S A R C A S M. Honestly, I am surprised this is just happening now. Also, I believe in 'omotenashi.'

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Ok, then what do you call the new drivers markers that are mandatory for all newly licensed drivers in Japan?

Some stickers really make sense and they are logical. This particular "foreigner" sticker does not make any sense because driver is a driver, and it doesn't matter where he came from if he has a license because rules of the road are pretty much universal. If foreigner is given a permission to drive in Japan, he has equal rights with other drivers, and putting a special sticker on his car would be discriminatory, especially when it includes a picture of a weird "alien" animal that other drivers would be laughing at.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Nice sticker by the way. Though, should read:

"THE FOREIGNER IS GOING THROUGH".

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I have more total driving experience in Japan than the 10 closest Japanese to me. They can stick that sticker where the sun doesn't shine. Try putting that on my rental and you will get a dressing down in your own language.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

These are meant to let other drivers know that the person driving the rent-a-car is unfamiliar with the roads and give him/her some air instead of blearing their claxons for his/her being somewhat late at times. I have a Japanese drivers license and at the few occasions when I rented a car in Hokkaido, I was never offered such a sticker.

It is funny how such a simple thing which is meant to help people on the road can be  spun into an outrage at presumably nationalistic intentions...

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Oh just stick papier-mâché heads on the tops of the cars with curly blond wigs and big noses.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Ok, then what do you call the new drivers markers that are mandatory for all newly licensed drivers in Japan? They must keep them on the car they are driving for one year.

How about the elderly driver stickers? The special needs one's too.

I am sure new drivers are still learning, and the elderly also have increasing issues with driving. If there is some statistical safety benefit to identifying these drivers with less experience or diminished driving capability, then I think it is OK. However, I seriously doubt there is any benefit to the labels.

The sticker is discriminatory. if they absolutely have to use a sticker for foreigners, they should use the new driver sticker instead.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Having your driving prowess doubted, worse than being emasculated.....

This particular "foreigner" sticker does not make any sense because driver is a driver, and it doesn't matter where he came from

The countries many of these visitors come from will drive on the right. Giving other drivers the heads-up is surely a good thing.

That weird animal on the sticker looks like an alien from Futurama. This is xenophobic and discriminatory.

'That weird animal' is 'Kyunchan', the Hokkaido tourist PR mascot. It's supposed to be the Ezo-nakiusagi (Japanese pika) wearing an Ezo-jika (Hokkaido Sika Deer) helmet and is supposed to be cute and representative of Hokkaido and welcoming, not alien-like.

http://kyuns-room.visit-hokkaido2.jp/user_data/about_kyuns.php

I get it, you've all been here a long time and your driving skills are so much better than the locals. Good for you. If you don't need the sticker, fine, take it off and chuck it in the boot of the car. But as a good, responsible driver, wouldn't you appreciate knowing that the driver in front of you is possibly struggling with being on the 'wrong' side of the road in an unfamiliar land, dealing with road signs in an unfamiliar language, and needs some space?

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

Reminds me of the time in Vancouver when someone was selling guerrilla stickers that read, "Chinese driver," with the official insurance logo beneath. Hilarious.

Mind you, that triggered an outcry from the municipal councilors and media.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Sorry but if we're going to do this, I'd add Asian driver and Woman Parallel Parking stickers.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Unintended consequences.

In places where rental cars were given stickers elsewhere, fraud gangs setup and would bump the marked vehicles - a small accident - to get them to stop. Then they would rob them on the side of the road of all their valuables and take the vehicle to slow down the victims being able to report it.

Sure, the idea seems like a good one, but not everyone is good people.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

The sticker is discriminatory. if they absolutely have to use a sticker for foreigners, they should use the new driver sticker instead.

Why is everything absolutes? No they don't "absolutely" use the stickers, as many people have noted here, the new driver sticker is for ...new drivers, get with the program.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

It's removable and therefore optional, so what's the problem? If you're a tourist who's not confident driving in a new country then you may well want to use it. If not, don't. Pretty straightforward really.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Atso EerikäinenToday 02:13 pm JSTIs Japan becoming traffic rasistic country? The sticker is like David's star on Jews in Germany.

Oh please. That's like saying "Student Driver" stickers are like Star of David armbands.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

@Koh Giaphuan

I agree, that's weird and almost passive-aggressive to include info in one language but not the other. The opposite pattern (warning signs like "don't touch" "don't litter" in English/Chinese but not in Japanese) also bug me. The only English on these stickers is almost nonsensical.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Do I understand right, that only those with this sticker can really drive a car ?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Look, if you're driving close enough to the other car to be able to read the sticker, then you yourself are a Dangerous driver.

Sure, the idea of having a "Foreigner is driving" notice, makes some sense, but perhaps it should be not simply be a small sticker, and be changed to be applicable to a wider range of people.

For example:

Why not have a long color-coded bumper sticker that's added to the rear and front of the Cars (all cars!)

Red for Elderly and Foreigners

Orange for Newly qualified Drivers

Yellow for Normal drivers

Green for Drivers with an accident record within the past year.

and so on.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

@Disillusioned

Good to see a satirical sense of humor here.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Take it easy folks!

Those signs are not meant to be racist at all. In fact it is a Japanese way of showing concern by way of reminding the Japanese driver to be understanding of folks who are used to driving on the right side.

I was once driving in a country whose official jargon for a foreigner is 'Alien' !

Imagine if they also have a similar sticker that says ' The driver is an Alien' or simply 'Alien Driver' ?

Would that be more racist or just plain hilarious?

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

Of course it' RACIST as it stands. The Japanese Nation as a whole, are made out "here"... to be the most Xenophobic racist nation Globally, This is why, I suggested making sense out of the plan, given that the number of recently reported high-profile accidents often involve elderly drivers, etc.. Yet that was pooh-poohed by some person as being useless without any followup comment to say why.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

I was in Okinawa last May and they didn't give me the sticker. I didn't get it in Sapporo either but that was few years ago, so maybe it didn't exist at the time. I have Japanese driving licence. Perhaps this is for foreigners renting with International driving licence? Would make sense to be honest, don't think anything's wrong with it.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Wow what a thread! So many posters losing it over... a sticker!

A car is an extension of a man's penis.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Obviously an incidence of racial discrimination where is the ACLU equivalent.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Actually I may need one of these in the U.S. I am so use to driving here, when I go back, the first few days people honk at me for not turning on red. I also never signal because I'm too busy using my windshield wipers and speed through red lights.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I think those who do not see this as racist have blinders on.

How could you not see this as racist, or at least prejudiced?

In other developed countries, this would never be considered acceptable.

You can put a sticker that says "Cautious driver" or "New driver" but you can't go around saying "Chinese driver, look out!"

The fact that Japan does not realize this sticker is a problem speaks bounds about its inability to deal with globalization.

While tourists might appreciate this kind of sticker, those who have lived here most of their lives and still have to deal with this kind of nonsense get frustrated with it.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

@Fouxdefa

Yes, i wonder why there are people disagreeing here. I am not offended by the sticker at all, but I think they should provide a correct translation for the sticker since the sticker is for foreign drivers only, shouldn't it be polite to provide an English translation of the Japanese meaning rather than a nonsensical slogan?

This gave me a feeling like seeing some unknowing Asians with huge bold English "Stupid Bxxxx" or something similar emblazoned in front of their T-shirts or vice versa with foreigners wearing Asian worded T's which they clearly have no idea what it meant.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

 'A foreigner is driving'

Not so much as safety related and consideration, but makes it easier for the opportunist to target his/her mark, i.e, opportunity to charge 100 times more for parking, opportunity for police to ticket for minor infractions, charging the "foreigner" significantly higher prices, and the list of "revenue enhancement" opportunities goes on.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

I don't really understand why everyone is shouting racism for this article. First of all, it's optional. It's not meant for everyone who is a foreigner, just people who are new to the country, and perhaps driving in a strange city in a car that's not their own.

For those people that have been here for awhile, own their own car, this is obviously not meant for you. I think the problem is that so many people are looking at this from the wrong perspective. I doubt that a person driving in Japan for the first time will be offended by the sign. If they are, it doesn't look like they will have to use it.

In a way, people that are just visiting who don't know their way around and are driving an unfamiliar vehicle (possibly on the other side of the road than they are accustomed) are like learners. So, what's the problem?

3 ( +5 / -2 )

The kneejerk "racism!" reactions illustrate just how unique this subset of humanity is. Staggeringly unique...

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Just make your own sticker saying whatever racist, discriminatory or derogatory remark you wish to promote and stick it on the rental car (magnetic backing of course).

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

It isn't mandatory either. All these folks get their undies in a bundle over nothing.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

"A foreigner is driving - Be aware: May slow down at orange signal."

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Wow so many comments on a tiny insignificant subject. Those claiming "racists" etc, get over yourselves.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Sticker should say..."I stop at red lights, please do not ram me from behind."

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I think people are mostly upset because what the Japanese says and what the English says are totally different. Having a label as "foreigner" applied to you is bad enough, but driving around thinking you've got a cute sticker that says "friendly driving" when really it's telling other people you can't drive because you are not Japanese, well, does that not strike you as wrong?

The idea of the sticker is fine, the way it has been executed is not.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

There is probably a better way to brace for the influx of tourists, such as a sticker that says tourist driver and not foreign driver. I've went through the same driving school the Japanese go through and took all the same steps, so why am I being treated different than Japanese drivers, based solely on the fact that I am a foreigner? We should have stickers in hawaii saying look out Japanese driver.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

This person is not going fall asleep at a major intersection with the car across the white line. I saved a child (child in the back) and father's life by screaming at them across two lanes as a pedestrian.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

So basically when I car I will accept the sticker, say thank you, go to the nearest connivence store and remove said sticker. When I go to return the car I will just say it fell off as I hand them the sicker. Problem solved.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

 when really it's telling other people you can't drive because you are not Japanese, 

No it does NOT, it just says that the driver is a foreigner. Nothing more, nothing less, you CHOOSE to read more into what is there, along with everyone else making similar comments!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I've went through the same driving school the Japanese go through and took all the same steps, so why am I being treated different than Japanese drivers, based solely on the fact that I am a foreigner? 

Do you read English? It's not about Japanese licensed foreign drivers. You wouldn't get a sticker, it's actually a magnet, and again you wouldn't get one!

Do you look for conspiracies behind every branch or piece of grass? No I dont think so, and this isnt one either.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

"Do I read English?"

oh sorry OMG! I said sticker instead of magnet, oops my bad I guess I should be crusified and where in the article does it say they are making the distinction difference between Japanese licensed drivers and non Japanese licensed drivers because I don't see it and please educate me why are foreigner marks are being used if it just says I'm a foreigner

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

All rental cars have a license plate that starts with わ. Is that not enough?

Also I have lived in Okinawa and their driving skills are not on par with what I see in Tokyo everyday.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

If I was in the car rental business, I'd try to get the names of a lot of people here so if they ever rented a car, I'd put a sticker on the car that read: "Warning! Baka Behind the Wheel"

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Maybe such a sticker would keep the Traffic Wardens away ?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I don't see it and please educate me why are foreigner marks are being used if it just says I'm a foreigner

Rent many cars here? You have a Japanese license right? Do you have the magnet? No, dont think you do.

Also as other posters have commented, hence my question if you read, they like you who have Japanese licenses have NEVER had this put on their rental cars, me neither.

I don't see it and please educate me why are foreigner marks are being used if it just says I'm a foreigner

They dont say I am a foreigner, they say there is a foreign driver. Nuance is different, and like the other cars that are marked for various reasons, it to give other drivers a heads up that the person driving the car MAY NOT be familiar with the roads and rules, and to stay aware. Nothing more, nothing less.

Too many damn conspiracy theorists here

All rental cars have a license plate that starts with わ. Is that not enough?

No actually they dont ALL, many have れ because they ran out of わ plates.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

That should be a headline: Japan Runs Out of Wa

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Would it be better to create a magnet that says something like:

"Driver unfamiliar with road rules."

Achieves the same result and would untwist everyone else's panties.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

There is not really any polite way to put any reaction to this.

Racist, pathetic, out of tune, primative, laughable, "a joke" , stupid etc. etc.

Poor Japan

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

As a long time resident of Japan - I agree with most posters...this is really stupid and unnecessary. This is one of those "only in Japan" things. I cannot think of any other country that does this. I would guess that whoever thought of this probably had the best of intentions, however, the underlying reasons why something like this would happen are a bit sad. The money could be better spent elsewhere...provide multilingual driver's guides (probably at the same cost or slightly more) for people coming into Japan and renting a vehicle...or do something more constructive.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Posters worried about driving on the other side of the road must not have ever done it. It's very easy to switch, because most of driving is muscle memory. Your brain adapts automatically. The hardest thing to adjust to is the reversed position of the turn signal and windshield wipers.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

As someone who has driven on 4 continents, including both sides of the road, places where the rules are more suggestions to places where they are enforced with an iron hand, heavily urbanized areas to remote wilderness, I will say that these stickers are a good idea, because even within a country where the rules of the road are uniform, and uniformly enforced, the CULTURE of the road differs greatly. And if you think cultural differences make for disasters, unless they are allowed for, in a business meeting, you should see the disasters they make on the roads.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

At least British, Irish and drivers from NZ and Oz are used to driving on the same side of the road as Japanese drivers, so that's half the battle. The traffic light system though is another matter...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@ Thunderbird

"... that's half the battle."

Well, about 5% of the battle, looking at the figures for where the tourists come from.

But it's a start.... : )

0 ( +0 / -0 )

There are a few stickers I would like to put on cars.

"Japanese driving while texting."

"Japanese driver who tailgates constantly."

"Japanse Bentz and BMW driver who does not stop for pedestrians."

2 ( +2 / -0 )

How enraging and condescending! One of many reasons Japan's still living in 1991... what's next? A big G fabric embroidered letter to wear on our gaijin clothes to make sure if any incidents on the pavement (bike/pedestrian) we know who's at fault...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

activate-all-the-racism sticker

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This is a great idea. A lot of street signs don't have English, and foreign drivers are less likely to know the rules of the road. An indication of this to other drivers around them let's people hang back, give them more room, and be more cautious about unexpected actions.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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