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Tuesday, April 27, 2004

LIFELINES

Car checks and new passport rules


Vehicle inspection

Do you know of anyone who could give me information on the laws and procedure regarding car inspections? I need to obtain Japanese inspection and a registration number plate for a recently imported car.

I'd prefer to deal with a foreigner, or at least an English-speaking Japanese, because the Japanese people I've asked so far are all very vague about the regulations. -- John Broe.

John should contact Michael Lay Motors. Mick can be reached at 03-5413-7370 or through www. micklay. com

Passport changes

Peter Van Buren of the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo writes in to let us know of some recent changes in U.S. passport processing procedures.

Minors, he writes, must now apply in person to renew their U.S. passports.

Under the new rules, only adults who were issued a ten year passport on or after their 16th birthday may apply for a renewal passport by mail.

All other applicants must appear in person.

This change is effective worldwide immediately and is not specific to Japan.

If the applicant is under age 14, including newborns, s/he must apply in person accompanied by at least one parent.

Rules regarding both parents agreeing to passport issuance have not changed and include the need for photo ID for the parents and an original birth certificate for the child.

If both parents do not apply in person with the minor, then the absent parent must consent to passport issuance in writing.

If the applicant is age 14 or older without a full validity passport issued at age 16 or older, s/he must apply in person but does not have to be accompanied by a parent.

If the applicant is applying for a first-ever passport, or a replacement for a lost or stolen passport, s/he must apply in person regardless of age.

Only if the applicant can produce a full validity passport issued at age 16 or older can s/he apply by mail. All others must apply in person.

Full details, including downloadable application forms, are available at japan. usembassy. gov/ e/ acs/ tacs-7130c. html

Waiver of this personal appearance by minors is available under only the most extreme circumstances where travel to the Embassy or Consulate would pose a serious and unusual hardship, or a clear risk to the minor's health, safety or welfare.

A doctor's letter and advance permission from the Embassy or Consulate are needed. No waiver under any circumstances is available to applicants over age 14, or for any first-time applicant of any age.

From our readers

For more information on the topic of divorce in Japan, Gavin suggests the following Web site, which is very comprehensive: www.crcjapan.com/en/

Ken Joseph Jr. directs The Japan Helpline at www.jhelp.com and 0570 000 911 Send your queries, questions, problems and posers, to: lifelines@japantimes.co.jp


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