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If you're importing a used vehicle from Japan you must provide evidence that it meets a range of approved standards before it can be registered for use on the road.

Evidence

You must provide evidence of:

Proof of ownership

You need to provide evidence that you're the legal owner of the vehicle. This includes the original documents that prove previous registration and provide an ownership trail that goes back to the last registered owner in the country where the vehicle was last registered.

Motorcycles

Motorcycles over 250cc: You need to provide the original certificate of return vehicle inspection certificate issued by Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT)

Small motorcycles (250cc or less, over 125cc): the original mini-vehicle notification certificate – confirmation of return issued by Japan Light Motor Vehicle and Motorcycle Association

Smaller than 125cc: You need to provide the original notification of dismantlement issued by a city office in Japan.

Passenger vehicles

Passenger vehicles excluding mini-vehicles: the original export certificate (with a type designation number (TDN) and a model code) issued by Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) or completion inspection certificate.

Mini-vehicles (660cc or less, Kei-Jidosha): You need to provide the original export certificate issued by Light Motor Vehicle Inspection Organisation 

All other vehicles: You can use an original export certificate issued by Japan's Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) or a completion inspection certificate.

Alternatively, for heavy vehicles, you need to provide:

  • the original detailed registration history certificate issued by MLIT, which includes full history details of the previous owners in Japan, and

  • original documents to establish an ownership trail, eg the detailed registration history certificate, bill of sale, purchase receipts.

In some cases certified English translations of documents not in English may be required.

Evidence of compliance with emissions standards

For both used and parallel-imported new vehicles you can present an original Japanese export or completion inspection certificate showing one of the applicable emissions code character sets (in the table below) at the beginning of the industry model code. See examples of the certificates below (the industry model code including the emission codes are circled in red).

RegulationFuel type
Petrol, CNG or LPGDiesel
Japan 05 Those complying to the 2005 Regulations Those displaying a three digit emissions code (eg 'ABA', ‘CBA’, ‘DBA’, 'DAA', ‘LDA’, ‘ZAA’)

Alternatively, a statement of compliance that includes an approved emission standard is acceptable proof that your vehicle meets New Zealand requirements.

Examples of Japanese certificates

Evidence of compliance with frontal impact standards

If your vehicle is Class MA, MB or MC, you must prove that it was manufactured to meet an approved frontal impact standard. Depending on the date of manufacture you can provide proof of its compliance using

  • an export certificate with a type designation number (TDN). A TDN has five digits, and is also referred to as a type approval number (see examples of certificates above, circled in blue) or
  • a completion inspection certificate

These don't apply to your vehicle? You'll need to get a statement of compliance as evidence.

For cars (class MA)

  • Some vehicles that comply are listed on our frontal impact lists. These lists cover vehicles manufactured during 1994–1996 when frontal impact standards were being developed. They therefore apply mainly to used imports. If the list says your vehicle does not meet a frontal impact standard, then you cannot bring it into New Zealand.

  • Mini-sized cars (under 660cc) from Japan comply if they were manufactured on or after 1 July 2000.

  • Cars that are not mini-sized comply if they:

    • were manufactured on or after 1 January 1996 in Japan, for the Japanese market or

    • were manufactured outside Japan on or after 1 April 1999 and were accepted through Japan's vehicle approval process.

You may not have to prove your vehicle complies with frontal impact standards if:

  • it is more than 20 years old

  • it is a 'special interest' vehicle

  • you're emigrating or returning to New Zealand and bringing your vehicle with you.

Find out more about these exceptions.

For 4x4, SUV and forward control vans (classes MB and MC)

If your class MB or class MC vehicle was manufactured after 1 October 2003 it must meet a frontal impact standard. The exception is if you're emigrating or returning to New Zealand and bringing your vehicle with you. Find out more about this exception.

If the vehicle was made in Japan for the Japanese market on or after 1 October 2003, it will meet a frontal impact standard accepted in New Zealand.

Evidence of compliance with light-vehicle brakes standards for electronic stability control (ESC)

You must check for the presence of ESC. See the technical bulletin about how to prove the existence of ESC in the electronic stability control identification bulletin (external link) .

Evidence of compliance with heavy-vehicle brakes standards

You must check for compliance with one of the approved brake standards if you want to import a heavy vehicle of class MD3, MD4, ME, NB or NC, no matter what date the vehicle was manufactured.

See the detailed information about how to prove compliance with an approved brake standard in the following sections of the Vehicle inspection requirements manual – entry certification (external link) :

Evidence of compliance with fuel consumption information requirements

You can use an online tool (external link)  to provide the fuel consumption compliance information, if:

  • your vehicle was previously registered in Japan and
  • you have an export certificate or completion inspection certificate.

To produce the compliance information, enter the vehicle's model code (shown circled in red). You'll then receive a fuel consumption certificate, which you take to the entry certifier.

If your fuel consumption certificate says consumption is 'unknown' it is still acceptable as compliance evidence to give to the entry certifier.

Evidence of overall standards compliance

You need to prove your vehicle meets all applicable New Zealand standards, which depend on the date of manufacture. One way to do this is to get a statement of compliance.

Evidence you can present

As an alternative to a statement of compliance, you can use:

  • an export certificate issued by Japan's Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT)
  • completion inspection certificate.

Class MC vehicles entering New Zealand on or after 1 March 2016 must also be fitted with an electronic stability control (ESC) system.

Kai mark

Check the certificate for a kai mark like this Kai mark.  after the model code. This indicates that the vehicle has been modified and may no longer meet the required standards. We strongly recommend that you check with an entry certifier to make sure that the vehicle complies with required standards. )

Your vehicle export certificate or completion inspection certificatemust contain a type designation number (TDN). If there's no TDN on the certificate, you'll need to get a statement of compliance, or apply for a TDN exemption through the entry certifier.

Next step

You can move onto step three of the importing process – preparing to import.

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