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New license rules aim to draw young truckers

Jiji Press TOKYO (Jiji Press) — The classification of driving licenses by vehicle type was changed in Japan this week at the request of the trucking industry, which is eager to employ young drivers amid labor shortages and an aging workforce.

Under the revised Road Traffic Act, which came into force on Sunday, a new license category of quasi-medium-sized trucks was created for vehicles with a gross weight from 3.5 tons to less than 7.5 tons, including passengers and cargo.

It was the first classification change since 2007, when the category of medium-sized trucks was introduced.

While licensed drivers for medium-sized trucks have to be at least 20 years old with driving experience of two years or more, people who are 18 years old or more with no driving experience are now allowed to obtain the license for quasi-medium-sized trucks.

Industry officials hope the new category will encourage more young people to get trucking jobs.

With the creation of the quasi-medium-sized truck category, the upper total weight limit for regular vehicles was lowered from less than 5 tons to less than 3.5 tons, while the lower limit for medium-sized trucks was lifted from 5 tons to 7.5 tons.

Those who already have the license for regular vehicles will be allowed to drive quasi-medium-sized trucks of up to 5 tons. The vehicle weight limit will be removed for such drivers who meet certain requirements, including four sets of lessons on driving skills at driving schools.Speech

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