At least 40 areas to introduce license plates with local designs

Japan Economic Newswire |

At least 40 areas in Japan are to introduce vehicle license plates featuring scenic spots or local specialties in a bid to raise their profile and lure more tourists, government data showed Thursday.

Sendai in northeastern Japan and Kyoto in western Japan are among the municipalities filing applications with the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism. The ministry aims to issue the specially designed license plates from October next year.

The ministry is hoping that the license plates will be used not only by private vehicles but also by buses and taxis to help promote regional tourism, its officials said.

Applications will be accepted until the end of this month. The ministry will then receive the proposed designs from the prefectures and municipalities by year's end.

As of Wednesday, the largest number of applications has come from the Kanto region in eastern Japan, with eight local areas wishing to be issued with such plates.



Six areas each from the Tohoku region of northeastern Japan, Chugoku in western Japan, and Kyushu in southwestern Japan, filed applications, while four prefectures in the Shikoku region in western Japan did so. No applications have come from Hokkaido and Okinawa prefectures.

Vehicle owners will be required to pay a fee of several thousand yen for a specially designed license plate in black and white, but by paying a little more in the form of a donation, they can obtain a color license plate, the officials said.

Using the donation -- roughly 1,000 yen per vehicle -- local municipalities plan to offer enhanced tourist information and carry out road improvements.

Since the road trucking vehicle law was revised in 2015, the central government can now issue plates with background designs.

In a similar initiative, license plates to promote the 2019 Rugby World Cup to be hosted by Japan have already been issued.

License plates of passenger cars, buses, taxis and trucks with commemorative background designs to promote the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games will be issued from October.

==Kyodo

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