Apparently Mr. Murphy and his law know kanji.

Against a backdrop of a declining dollar and climbing gas prices, spring has set upon us with that most Japanese of rites — road tax.

Paid in yen, road tax is collected beginning April 1 from owners of all private vehicles to help defray the cost of maintaining Japan’s roadways.

Taxes are proportional to engine size: the bigger the engine, the higher the tax.

Besides the cost, the thought of going to the local municipal office can be intimidating to many. But if Defense Department personnel plan ahead, taxpayers won’t even have to go off base to pay the taxes.

Bases in Japan have set days and locations for people to pay their road taxes. If the payment is handled on base, officials said vehicle owners can have someone else take care of it without granting a power of attorney.

“Personnel who are currently under way are able to pay their road tax at the tax office when they return from deployment if it is after April 1,” Yokosuka Naval Base Security Officer Paul Bradley said in an e-mail to Stars and Stripes.

According to a U.S. Forces Japan policy letter, vehicles should be registered at the military installation closest to where a vehicle’s owner is assigned. Additionally, each vehicle must have a valid parking certificate.

People “do not have to get a new parking certificate if their residence is the same address as it was last year when they paid their road tax,” Bradley said. However, if you’ve moved since last year’s road tax, you need to have a parking certificate that reflects your new address.

Failure to pay taxes may be awarded with unwanted attention from both Japanese and military police that could result in vehicle impoundment and denial of base access, military officials said.

Road tax season coincides with the expiration date of base decals. To get updated decals, you need the following items:

Proof of payment of your 2008 road tax.A status-of-forces-agreement driver’s license.Liability insurance.Japanese Compulsory Insurance.A current base inspection sheet for your car.Japanese vehicle title.Military vehicle registration.Certificate of title of motor vehicle (DD Form 430).A valid SOFA ID card.A valid parking certificate (if applicable).Motorists won’t get their base decals until any outstanding traffic fines are paid.

Where and when to payMisawa Air Base

Road taxes can be paid April 14-17 in the Mokuteki Community Center Ballroom. Vehicle owners pay on the day corresponding to the first letter of their last name: A to E, April 14; F to L, April 15; M to R, April 16; S to Z, April 17. Times are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 18 is a makeup day from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Call the pass and registration office at DSN 226-3995 for more information.

Yokota Air Base

Road tax collection begins April 1 at the pass and registration office in Building 316. Payment sessions will be held at the Taiyo Recreation Center on April 14-18 for regular four-wheeled vehicles and April 17-18 for mini cars and motorcycles, 9:30-11:30 a.m. and 1-3 p.m. daily.

If you can’t make it to the Taiyo, you can bring all registration/ownership paperwork to the pass and registration office. A road tax slip will be issued and regular vehicle road taxes can be paid at an off-base bank or post office. Mini car and motorcycle owners may pay at Fussa or Musashimurayama city hall but owners are required to bring Japanese title and military ID card.

After payment, you must stop by the pass and registration office with receipt, ownership paperwork and old decal to pick up a new USFJ decal.

All SOFA personnel must have road taxes paid and new decal displayed by May 31. For more information, contact pass and registration at DSN 225-8932.

Camp Zama

The road tax program is set for April 15-18 at the Camp Zama Community Club’s Firelite Lounge 9-11 a.m. and 12:30-2:30 p.m. daily. Sessions are broken down by last names of vehicle owners: A through E, April 15; F through K, April 16; L thought R, April 17; S through Z, as well as motorcycles and mini cars with yellow plates, April 18.

If you can’t make road tax payments during the special program, you must pay at the off-post Japanese tax office in the Sagami Land & Transportation Office or the office on Route 51.

All payments must be in yen and must be completed no later than May 31. Call vehicle registration at DSN 263-4337/3732/4810 for more information.

Camp Fuji

Road tax collection is scheduled to start April 16. Take all required paperwork to base road tax collector Haruyuki Ina, who will issue new decals, or to the Numazu Tax Office.

For more information, call Ina at DSN 224-8578.

Sasebo Naval Base

Residents can pay taxes April 16-17 from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. and from 1 to 3:30 p.m. at the Showboat Theater behind the commissary on the main base.

Yokosuka Naval Base/Ikego Housing Area and Negishi Housing Area

Representatives of the Kanagawa tax office will collect this year’s road tax on base at the Fleet Theater on April 3-4 from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 2:30 p.m.

Negishi Housing Area road tax can be paid at the Negishi Morale, Welfare and Recreation classroom in Building 19045 on April 10-11 from 9 to 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 to 2:30 p.m.

Contact the base vehicle registration office at 243-5011/5896. for more information.

Marine Corps Air Station, Iwakuni

Residents can pay road taxes April 16-18. Japanese tax officials will be at the Provost Marshal’s Office pass and registration office from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information contact the PMO pass and registration office at DSN 253-3161.

Atsugi Naval Air Station

Officials did not respond to requests for information.

— From staff reports

How much?

Road taxes are set according to engine size of each vehicle and can be determined by the number shown on the top of the license plate.

Here are the various plates and taxes:

44Y, 400Y; 56Y, 57Y, 58Y, 500Y, 529Y plates — 7,500 yen.33Y, 300Y, 329Y plates; 4.5L and lower — 19,000 yen.4.6L and above — 22,000 yen.11Y, 100Y plates — 32,000 yen.Road tax for mini cars and motorcycles must be paid at the local city hall or ward office beginning in April.

Mini cars — 3,000 yen.Motorcycles up to 125cc— 500 yen.126cc and above — 1,000 yen.— Stars and Stripes

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