Applications for the Olympic number plates are no longer accepted.
Applications for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games Special Edition Number Plates (hereinafter referred to as “Olympic Plates”), which started in September 2017, were completely closed at the end of September (they will be issued until November 24).
According to the Automobile Information Division of the Automobile Bureau of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, a total of 2,894,374 Olympic number plates have been issued over the past four years, of which 2,677,242, or more than 90%, were for light vehicles.
What was the system? I would like to explain it again.
In addition to applying for the Olympic plates when purchasing a new car, it was also possible to exchange the plates for new ones without changing the numbers on the existing plates. There are two types of Olympic plates to choose from.
(1) With design (full-color radial design plus the emblem of the Olympic and Paralympic Games) *available for donations of 1,000 yen or more
2) Emblem only (white base with only the Ori/Paralympic emblem in the upper right corner) *No donation required
The cheapest license plate issuance fee (for a set of two plates) is 7,300 yen (tax exempt) for a registered car (small or regular) in the Tokyo area, and the highest fee is 9,850 yen (tax included) for a light car in the Hiroshima area. The highest price is 9,850 yen (including tax) for a light car in the Hiroshima area. Regular license plates cost around 3,000 yen, so the price is quite high. The main reason for this is the cost of producing the design.
What is the reason for the overwhelming number of mini cars?
There is only one reason why 92% of the 2.89 million Olympic license plates were placed on mini cars: “You can replace yellow plates with white plates.
According to an Internet survey conducted by the car leasing company “Otoku ni My Car: Teikoku Karumokun” on 1,390 car owners in June this year, 38% said they don’t like yellow plates and 49% said they would like to have (or have) different colored license plates for their mini cars. Nearly half of kei users would like to have the same white license plate as small and regular cars, instead of yellow, which is the identity of kei cars.
The Olympic plate has become the perfect opportunity for new car buyers and even current minicars to exchange their license plate numbers from yellow to white without changing the numbers.
This can be seen from the difference in the number of plates issued between the full-color version, which can be selected with a donation of 1,000 yen or more, and the monotone version, which only includes the emblem.
- Full color version Registered cars (small, regular, large) -> 135,923 units Mini cars -> 144,847 units
- Monotone version Registered vehicles -> 81,209 units Mini vehicles -> 2,532,395 units
The full-color version is more common for registered vehicles, but the monotone version is overwhelmingly more common for mini vehicles.
In addition, six months before the Olympic plates were issued, the “Rugby World Cup Special Edition Number Plates” (April 3, 2009 to January 31, 2020) began to be issued, and like the Olympic plates, the white number plates with the exact same design as those for registered vehicles were also adopted for light vehicles. A total of 290,000 plates were issued, of which 40,000 were for registered cars and 250,000 were for mini cars, again overwhelmingly for mini cars.
What to do when you get tired of it? It is possible to change the license plate back to the original one by paying the prescribed fee, but it is believed that almost no kei car owner will go to the trouble of changing it back to yellow.
Although the Olympics plates, which were overwhelmingly popular among kei car users, are no longer accepted, a special license plate that will be the “successor” to the Olympics plates will be issued from April 1, 2022 (until the end of March 2027). The design, which was selected through a public contest, expresses the beauty of Japan by using the prefectural flowers of each of the 47 prefectures in Japan as a motif, with the hope that “Japan as a whole will stand up for itself.
Incidentally, the “local version” of the design plate, which has been expanding to other parts of Japan since 2018, uses a white base license plate for light vehicles, but with a “yellow frame”. If you really don’t like the yellow frame, you can hide it by installing a license plate frame.
However, if the yellow frame is erased by the frame, it becomes difficult to instantly distinguish whether it is a mini-car or not. For this reason, the new “national design plate” has a yellow triangular space in the upper left corner.
It is expected that there will probably be no more light vehicle plates that are indistinguishable from regular cars at a glance, like the Olympic plates.
The last two digits of the three-digit classification number are 582, 58A, and other numbers and alphabets such as “80-99” and “8A~8Y”. These hiragana and classification numbers are unique to kei cars, and are used at toll gates to identify the car model from the license plate number.
Reporting and writing by： Kumiko Kato (Automotive Journalist)