Japan Offers Driving Test in Vietnamese

The decision aims to alleviate the challenges faced by foreign residents and workers in Japan.

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The Japanese government is offering taxi and bus driving license tests in languages like Vietnamese, English, Chinese and Nepali.

The Fukuoka Prefectural Police Department in northern Kyushu (Japan) began exams in Vietnamese, English, Chinese and Nepali at the end of March (Photo: NLIS).

Previously, the regular Class 1 driving tests were available in English, but the Class 2 driving license exam was only offered in Japanese. This limitation caused many difficulties for foreigners.

The Aichi Prefectural Police Department in Central Japan holds the English test with a 2nd rank starting this week. Previously, the Fukuoka Prefectural Police Department in northern Kyushu began exams in Vietnamese, English, Chinese and Nepali at the end of March.

About 50% of class 2 license applicants pass the exam. According to the National Police Agency of Japan, at the end of 2023, among holders of class 2 licenses for regular and large vehicles, there were 6,689 foreigners – less than 1%.

The taxi and bus industry as well as the Japanese logistics industry are facing a serious shortage of drivers. The overall shortage is expected to reach approximately 67,000 drivers and 22,000 drivers respectively by 2029. To address the problem, the National Police Agency of Japan has translated sample questions for class 2 driving licenses into 20 languages and distributed them to all police stations to enable more foreigners to take the exam.

Also, the Japanese government has announced plans to accept up to 24,500 foreign drivers under a skilled worker visa program from 2024 to 2028.

According to data announced by the Japanese Ministry of Labor on January 26, 2024, the number of foreign workers in the country in October 2023 was nearly 2.05 million. In terms of nationality, the Vietnamese labor group has 518,364 people, accounting for 25.3%, followed by labor groups from China (397,918 people) and the Philippines (226,846 people).

Calculated by status of residence, the number of visa holders issued to professional individuals increased by 24.2%, up to 595,904 people. In this group, the number of people classified as “specified skilled workers” increased sharply by 75.2%, to 138,518 people, including nearly 69,500 Vietnamese and nearly 25,600 Filipinos.

Fanasy Nguyen Le