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Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2011

Softbank star in driver's license flap

Staff writer

Tokyo police said Monday they have turned over to prosecutors their case against actor/model Dante Carver, 34, a frequent character in Softbank Corp.'s mobile phone commercials, for allegedly driving with an invalid international driver's license.

News photo
Dante Carver

Carver is known as "onii-chan" (elder brother) in the family that hawks its products in the TV commercials.

The police confirmed a Kyodo News report that officers from Meguro Police Station pulled the New Yorker over after he executed an illegal U-turn in Shibuya Ward on July 2. He then presented them with an international driver's license that they determined to be invalid under the Road Traffic Law.

Under the law, someone who lives in Japan but obtains an international driver's license during a less-than-three-month absence from Japan is not permitted to use the document to drive here, as Carver was doing, the police said.

The law was revised in June 2002 to prevent foreigners from habitually driving in Japan on an international driver's license, which is valid only for a year. Before the revision, foreign residents and Japanese could leave the country, obtain an international driver's license cheaply overseas and return and use it, repeating the pattern yearly.

The police quoted Carver as saying, "I didn't know the law very well," Kyodo News said.

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The Japan Times

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