Friday, September 16, 2011

Traffic ticket in Japan: pay the fine or...?

One week ago today, I was unfortunate to be pulled over for failure to completely stop at a traffic light in Niigata, Japan. I stopped, at least I think I did. I don't think the police officer saw me stop. He was hiding around a wall and flagged me down as soon as I finished my turn. He told me I had to stop and didn't. My Japanese is decent for everyday conversations, but when it comes to law, I get tripped up on words I don't hear very often. I followed his instructions and drove another thirty yards down the street where a van and five more police officers were waiting for me.

I realized, they must not have made their quota and were doing their best to give as many citations as possible in one day. As I pulled in, another poor sop just left. I parked my car, got out and was escorted to their police van. In the van the officers pointed here and there, made exaggerated gestures for things like stop, driver's license and pay, and made me stamp everything they handed me. They were very polite overall, perhaps because of the tears coming down my cheeks, I'm not sure.

When they finished, I was given a ticket for 7000 yen and told to pay it by the 16th. As I got in my car to leave, another car was parking behind me. These guys had some amazing timing! I don't know much about paying traffic tickets in Japan, I've never done it before. In fact this was my first citation of any kind in Japan. I tried to remember to pay it, but just kept forgetting. Besides, I gave it to my wife when I came home. She had it and as the saying goes, out of sight out of mind.

Today is the 16th. I left for work and realized I needed to pay the ticket. I called my wife and asked her to do it. She said she would. In the end, she was busy making some wonderful wedding decorations for our wedding ceremony and forgot to pay it. So now I can only wonder... what happens when you don't pay the fine on time?

Link of the day is: Japan Radiation: Oops, we made a mistake... again. Sorry.


  1. Man, that was really a bummer! Definitely the "older and wiser" attitude is the better solution. Although I understand why you blurred at the cop because you were very pissed because he pulled you over. It's a good thing you learned your lesson regardingtraffic tickets, if only there were more drivers who that would understand the necessity of a calm attitude when being pulled over by the police.

  2. That's Cool Terrence. You know, I appreciate the comment, but I just want you to know that all comment post links have a rel="nofollow" tag on them. so if you are hoping to get SEO out of your link, you won't. I should hope that my readers won't click on your link either, but if they do, I suppose they deserve it.


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