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(See roundup of road-tax information at end of story.)

SASEBO NAVAL BASE, Japan — Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines.

Ladies and gentlemen, empty your pockets.

It’s time for vehicle owners associated with U.S. installations in Japan to pay the Japan Road Tax.

Most bases in Japan try to make the process extremely easy. Some even connect issuing new annual base access stickers to the tax payment process, said Petty Officer 1st Class Todd Collins, Vehicle Registration Office supervisor at Sasebo Naval Base.

“We really want to get the majority of the base done … paying their road tax and putting on the new base access stickers … during the period set aside just for this,” Collins explained. “It benefits the vehicle owners, and it benefits us and it benefits the Japanese from the city tax office to do all this at once.”

Road taxes, based on vehicle type, range from 32,000 yen, or about $267, for ordinary trucks to 500 yen, or about $4.16, for some motorcycles. The amounts are consistent throughout Japan, said a vehicle registration office official, and must be paid in yen.

Collins said officials in Sasebo do not set a drop-dead date for the taxes to be paid. Some installations use May 31 as the deadline. “The Japanese usually pay the taxes in March, and we do it in April,” he said.

However, Sasebo “will set a drop-dead date when vehicles must have a new decal to come on base,” he said. “If they don’t have one by that date, the vehicle will be impounded. Then the owner can walk to the tax office and pay the taxes, them come back to get the vehicle.”

Collins said road taxes can be paid at Sasebo’s Showboat Theater on April 15. Those who miss that opportunity still can pay by going to the Sasebo city tax office, he said: “Pay the taxes there and bring the receipt to us at the VRO to get a new base decal.”

To pay the taxes at a scheduled event on any of the bases, or to pay at a local tax office, vehicle owners must bring their DOD identification card, registration and title, receipt from last year’s taxes, proof of Japan Compulsory Insurance (JCI), a liability insurance policy and, of course, yen with which to pay the tax.

Officials at Atsugi Naval Air Facility got a jump on the road tax payment process. April 1-4, the base allowed vehicle owners to pay road taxes, as well as conduct regular vehicle registration services, at the Flight Line Galley.

“If you have not paid your road tax on base … do not worry,” explained base spokesman Brian Naranjo. “You can still pay it at the Yamato City Tax Office. Motorcycles and mini-car road taxes must be paid at Ayase City Hall.”

Maps to both locations are available at Atsugi’s Building 20 in the vehicle registration office, he added.

David Allen contributed to this report.

Base road-tax campaigns

JAPAN ROAD TAXES

(All payments must be in yen.)

Ordinary trucks 32,000 yen

Small trucks 7,500 yen

Small vehicles 7,500 yen

Vehicles (33) 19,000 or 22,000 yen

Mini-cars 3,000 yen

Motorcycles 500 or 1,000 yen

Yokota Air Base

Date: April 14-19

Time: 9 -11:30 a.m. and 1 -3:30 p.m

Where: Yujo Community Center

Payment is due by May 31, and those not paying at the community center must take care of it on their own in town. New this year, to avoid long lines, the base encourages vehicle owners to pick up a road tax form from the Pass and Identification Office, pay at the nearest off-base post office or bank and bring the receipt back in to get the new base decal. For more information, call DSN 225-8834.

Yokosuka Naval Base

Date: April 9-11, 21 and 22

Time: 9-11:30 a.m. and 12:30-2:30 p.m

Where: Fleet Theater

To save a trip to the Yokohama Land Transportation Office, take advantage of the tax officials’ annual trip to base and pay your road taxes at the Fleet Theater. As an added benefit, people can both pay road taxes and get the new base sticker at the same time. For more information, call DSN 243-5011.

Camp Zama

Date: April 15-18

Time: 9-11:30 a.m and 12:30-2:30 p.m.

Where: Camp Zama Community Club Firelite Lounge

The vehicle owners at Zama, based on the first letter of their last names, should attend on the correct alphabetically specified date:

A through E – April 15

F through K — April 16

L through R — April 17

S through Z — April 18

The 18th is also the day to pay taxes on all “yellow-tag” vehicles, including mini-cars and motorcycles. The 2003 U.S. Forces Japan decals will be distributed at the same time. At Camp Zama, all Japanese road taxes must be paid by May 31. After June 1, it is illegal to move the vehicle if you have not paid the road taxes. For more information, call DSN 263-3732.

Iwakuni Marine Corps Air Station

Date: April 9-30

Time: 8:30 a.m.-5:15 p.m. (Japanese Road Tax Office hours)

Where: Japanese Road Tax Office

Personnel can bring their vehicle registration and the amount of due taxes in yen, and for a $5 fee, the staff of the Auto Hobby Shop will handle the chore, according to Gunnery Sgt. John Olmstead, base spokesman. For more information, call PMO Pass and Registration at 253-3161.

Sasebo Naval Base

Date: April 15-17

Time: 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.

Where: Showboat Theater

Representatives from the local tax office, as well as the base vehicle registration staff, will assist vehicle owners paying the Japan road taxes and acquiring the new 2003 base decals. A vehicle registration office official said those who can’t make it to the road tax campaign on the specified days can pay by going to the Sasebo city tax office. After paying, take the receipt to the base registration office to get a new base decal. For more information, call DSN 252-3446.

Misawa Air Base

Date: April 21-24

Time: 8 a.m.-4 p.m.

Where: Mokuteki Community Center Ballroom

Misawa is using a system based on the first letter of an owner’s last name.

A through E — April 21

F through L — April 22

M through S — April 23

T through Z — April 24

April 25 is a make-up day for those not able to pay during the scheduled timeframe. Because the tax must be paid in yen, Community Bank will be on hand to provide a money exchange service. For more information, call the 35th Security Forces Squadron’s pass and registration section at 226-3995.

OKINAWA

On Okinawa, most of the Japan road taxes are due in May. However, taxes for mini-cars, mopeds and motorcycles are due in April, and can be paid at Japanese city offices daily between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. For more information, call the vehicle registration office at your particular base. On Okinawa, road taxes may be paid — in yen only — at the following bases from 9:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. at the specified locations:

Camp Hansen — May 1, The Palms Club

Camp Schwab — May 2, The Beachhead Club

Torii Station — May 6-7, Torii Station Gym

Camp Courtney — May 8-9, Camp Courtney Theater

Kadena Air Base — May 12-16, Keystone Theater

Camp Foster — May 19-23, Foster Field House

Camp Kinser — May 27-29, Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron Building 107

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