飲酒運転の罰則等・Penalties for Drunk Driving

2016.12.16 (Fri)

Between holiday and year-end parties with colleagues, coworkers, and friends, there is no shortage of opportunities to drink and celebrate as we approach the new year. It is important to keep in mind, however, that while it may be acceptable to have a few drinks and drive home in many countries, and while you may be a champ at holding your liquor, the laws related to drinking and driving in Japan are very strict (zero tolerance)- and are not limited to those driving.

Penalties for driving drunk or under the influence of alcohol may include hefty fines, imprisonment, and losing your license (and potentially your job and the respect of your coworkers and neighbors as well). Similar penalties extend to those who contribute to the act- including those who knowingly provide a vehicle to someone who has been drinking, those who encourage someone who will be driving to drink, those who let someone who has been drinking drive, and those who simply ride with someone who has been drinking.

It’s a bit more difficult in smaller towns and cities when you don’t have a station right near your house and you can’t always just take a train home, but even if you don’t have a designated driver, there are other options available- including taking a taxi or using the daikou service (where someone will drive both you and your car back home for you). While not as cheap as a train, these are both safe and reliable options that are much better than the alternative.

I don’t have any cute catchphrases for you (although I wish I did), but please be safe this holiday season and be sure to take care of yourself and those around you.


For detailed information regarding Japan’s laws relating to drinking and driving, please refer to the following sites:

・National Police Agency’s website (English):
(If you scroll down just a bit, you will find a PDF called “To Foreign Nationals Who Drive Vehicles in Japan” under the section entitled Information from the National Police Agency.)

・Metropolitan Police Department’s website (Japanese):


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