NIHON LIFE: June is Illegal Exhaust Awareness Month in Japan

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Time for a JNC public service announcement: If you have a car in Japan, and you have an aftermarket exhaust on it, be careful during the month of June. It’s Illegal Exhaust Awareness Month, and authorities will be cracking down on modified cars. 


Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, or MILT, believes that aftermarket exhausts on both cars and motorcycles contribute to the country’s growing issue of noise pollution. Starting with vehicles built April 1, 2010 or later, exhaust systems technically cannot be modified unless the new system is in compliance with the MLIT standard.

For June, police are expected to ramp up random street-side inspections (think DUI checkpoint but for exhaust noise). Flyers explaining illegal customizations (right, below) will also be distributed in rest areas and service centers, warning shops not to conduct illegal mods.

To be clear, the law applies only to 2010 or newer cars and not kyusha, which have their own set of rules. While there’s no noise restriction, one in particular governs takeyari pipes, which are illegal under another law that forbids dangerous protrusions.


Of course, illegal mod crackdowns have been happening for years with varying levels on intensity, and thus far that hasn’t stopped anyone determined to run an aftermarket exhaust. However, with this new round of scrutiny things might change. Then again, maybe the political winds will shift and MLIT will focus their efforts elsewhere.

One curious aspect of the law will feel especially cruel to anyone living in California: imported cars are exempt from the inspections. The reasoning is that since those cars were never sold in Japan, they can’t be expected to meet the Japanese government’s noise requirements. Cali takes the opposite approach: even though your car is imported, it still has to obey our laws or it can’t be registered.

An example of the noise pollution flyer can be seen above. Below is another flyer indicating common modification no-nos found in Japan, and a video of a street-side inspection. Happy Illegal Exhaust Awareness Month from JNC!

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20 Responses to NIHON LIFE: June is Illegal Exhaust Awareness Month in Japan

  1. cesariojpn says:

    So according to that flyer, even Dekotora is illegal as well?

  2. Scotty G says:

    I wish there was such a law (a real, enforced law, not a wink-wink-nudge-nudge “law”) in the US in regard to Harleys.

    • Censport says:

      Don’t get me started! 😀

    • GEN2TWINCAM says:

      Cops never do a thing about Harleys. That’s why I’m getting a rocket launcher!

    • In regards to noisy Harleys, I’m in my lair right now working on the first ever shoulder fired noise-seeking missile.

    • Randy says:

      While a lot are – even in MY estimation – ridiculously loud, I’m still okay with that… “Loud Pipes Save Lives” is actually true, as is having the stereo up; people just don’t pay attention anymore, unless you YANK their attention from their phones. WITHOUT the stereo up, I’ve been within 5′ of someone before they noticed. I’d like to hook up the air horns to my car…

      Now, if someone comes up with a Smartphone-seeking rocket launcher, I’m in!

  3. Ant says:

    While UK laws are often draconian, I’m quite glad we’re still free to modify cars without many unfair restrictions. Our laws on preventing tyres protruding too far or other safety requirements are fair enough, and yearly emissions testing means you can’t go nuts removing emissions equipment, but you’re still generally free to modify your car in any way you like.

    That said, the aftermarket exhaust I’m running wouldn’t fall foul anyway – freer flowing, but quiet enough for pretty much any track day and fully compliant with EU emissions regs. Nice not having to even think about that kind of stuff…

  4. Anthony says:

    How about illegal dumping radiation into the ocean month??

  5. Randy says:

    I don’t understand the white vs. colored tail lights one… If you have the correct bulb/LED in there, I’d think all is good, unless it’s a lack-of-reflectors issue.

    I get some of the safety-oriented things, but it also looks like they’re trying to outlaw the “offensive,” and “offensive” is not ACTUALLY harmful.

    I still don’t see how they keep the crazy exhausts from collapsing under their own weight.

    Obviously, I’m not a supporter of yet more rules, regulations, laws, etc. “Give me freedom, or go to Hell!”

    • Matt says:

      RE; Tail lights. Definitely a lack of reflector issue. We have the same rule in Australia. Later model cars often have the reflectors fitted into the bumpers though so replacing taillights on those is less of an issue.

      Slightly off topic but I actually recall reading a story a little while back (I forget where) about how a guy got pulled over and fined for having standard factory fitted Calais (G8) tail lights fitted in his car because they didn’t have reflectors. The issuing officer wouldn’t accept that the reflectors in the bumper were sufficient for not having any fitted in the tail lights and it was only after a letter from GM was sent to the officer stating that they are legal and factory fitted that the charge was dropped.

      • Randy says:

        I’d say that second part is only SLIGHTLY off-topic, as everybody has some kind of regs to deal with – and some of my conversations have gone wildly off the tracks… 🙂

        Sounds like a revenue-generator to me, as that’s a stupid reason to tag someone – especially if the car is factory stock… Tens of thousands of people being fined for doing absolutely nothing, and who fights THAT kind of ticket, really?

        Just to yank this back on-topic, though, just attach some kind of reflector strip to the lenses, and be done with it; still have the overall white-out effect. (Kinda hate to say this, but I’m getting tired of the whole chromed/”Altezza” look. It’s not adding to the looks of the vehicle, as I’ve seen them lately – even if from the factory.)

  6. Aldo says:

    Does anybody know the name of the type of exhaust in the 1st picture?

  7. Negishi no Keibajo says:

    I have yet to figure out what the priority is for the police force in Japan. They go on these “campaigns” with what seems like a bunch of retired officers. I got arrested by one of these guys for not having a rear brake on a bicycle. Now I’m no hipster 20 year old popping wheelies down Yurakucho. I just like riding track bikes and had been riding this bike for 8 years there. They ultimately let me go but not after visiting the Marunouchi Police Station. The regular officers were kinda rolling their eyes. Geeezzz….

    • Randy says:

      Here’s as good an explanation as anyone’s going to come up with:

      1.) $$$$$ – Everybody has things that aren’t “perfect” in the eyes of the law, so there are fines to be collected EVERYWHERE.

      . . . And, relatedly(?)

      2.) Make everyone a “criminal.” Your info is now in some database somewhere.

      As a happy aside, a cop now knows he’s more powerful than you miserable peons (sp? & ego trip). You realize, of course, that YOU are the problem.

      • Negishi no Keibajo says:

        Heh heh,
        Yea… Unfortunately for them, my name isn’t that hard to find as to what I do, where I go, and why because of my job.

  8. Kuroneko says:

    The vid is Tatsumi PA. I was there last night and with the place packed full of cars, the police came through twice, and simply told anyone parked illegally to move. They even allowed us to remain in the truck parking places, even though that’s been cleared out a few times before…

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