The Island country of Japan, home to high-tech robots, the Shinkansen and a leader in eco-friendly cars, has a niche for building things small and sturdy. Which is good in cars, houses and electronics, but when it comes to roads, it becomes a hassle to normal semi-trucks. Having lived in Japan for the past year, I have seen two way roads narrow enough to be considered 4-wheeler trails. However, freight still needs to be shipped from one end of this island to the other and while Japan has over 1000 shipping ports, only 106 of those are considered main ports for big shipments. One of the main methods for shipping freight in Japan is the railways that thread through Japan like Ivy crawling up a Cedar Tree.
That however does not exclude semi-trucks from Japan. The railways do not reach every town of Japan, so to get goods from a train station to the final location. a Semi-truck is needed to traverse those short hauls. The typical trucker can deliver the freight and be home in time for supper. Though there are some long hauls for items that can’t be shipped by train. Those truckers might be the lucky ones, because the typical Japan rest area vacation destination for some Japanese who spend their lives in the city.
To be able to drive a Semi in Japan, you will need to obtain a Oogata-kenin-menkyo (CDL) from one of the many Truck driving schools around Japan. The typical course to obtain a simple CDL runs for ten days at an expense of 268,800 Japanese Yen, though you also need a regular license, which can also be obtained at the truck school for 366,800 Japanese Yen and a course load of seventeen days. Once you are done with your training in Japan, the typical salary is in-between 280,000 and 450,000 Japanese Yen a month.
Over the past decade, the price of all fuel has been going up, it is not different here in Japan, it runs around 125 Japanese Yen per liter and 475 Japanese Yen per Gallon. The economic stability of Japan is still strong, though in the next several years the need for Semi-Truck drivers is predicted to decrease by 10%. Currently the Diet is in session to increase the consumption taxes by 5% to bring more money into the Government’s budget from taxation and less from loans from other countries. If they are allowed to do this, then the GDP is predicted to go up in the next decade, which in turn will also bring more openings to the Trucking industry.
Some downfalls of driving a Semi-Truck in Japan comes in the form of tiny roads, where they are not even wide enough to admit two cars at the same time going in different directions. It is almost impossible to fit a full sized truck down one of these roads, but the skilled Japanese drivers are able to get in and drop off their haul and exit without destroying the Semi in the process, which for Japanese truck drivers is an important piece of art. Many of Semi-trucks here in Japan have been decorated with bright colored lights and fine art, far better than any that I have seen on an American Semi. Zachary Ringler