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State of Maryland, Japan Sign Driver’s License Reciprocity Agreement

Memorandum of Cooperation Streamlines Process to Obtain Driver’s License

ANNAPOLIS, MD – Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford and Deputy Chief of Mission Hiroyasu Izumi of the Japanese Embassy today signed a driver’s license reciprocity agreement between Maryland and Japan. The signed memorandum of cooperation allows Japanese citizens living in Maryland to obtain a license without having to take the driving or written licensing exams if they are already licensed to drive in Japan. It gives the same option to Maryland residents living in Japan.

“This agreement is another symbol of our strong relationship with Japan,” said Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford. “The reciprocity agreement is fair and equitable and provides benefits to both of our economies by streamlining the process for obtaining a license and encouraging trade between our countries.”

The Lt. Governor was joined by Transportation Secretary Pete K. Rahn and Motor Vehicle Administrator Christine Nizer, who both signed the memorandum of cooperation. Secretary of State John C. Wobensmith oversaw the process with his partners in the Japanese Embassy in Washington, D.C. Other members of the Japanese delegation attending today’s ceremony included Junichiro Kuroda, Minister of Economy, Trade Industry and Energy; and Yoshiro Taguchi, Counselor of Transportation Policy.

The agreement applies only to non-commercial driver’s licenses and still requires drivers in Maryland to pay the associated fees and pass a vision test. Drivers also will have to take a three-hour-long drug and alcohol course as required by statute for anyone obtaining a Maryland driver’s license from outside the country.

As part of this process, Maryland and Japan collected information on the driver licensing requirements of each and compared them to existing requirements to determine compatibility. The MVA has ensured that the standards applied in the licensing process in Japan are consistent with the practices of the State of Maryland and are also in the best interest of driver safety.

Maryland has similar driver’s license reciprocity agreements with France, the Republic of Korea (South), the Federal Republic of Germany, and Taiwan (Republic of China).

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