In Japan, new motor vehicles must be approved by Local Land Transport Offices for initial inspection and registration before they can be used. The Motor Vehicle Type Designation System (motor vehicles, etc., are examined about the conformity with standards in advance) has been established to enable efficient and appropriate inspection for the sake of ensuring safety and environmental conservation. The Automobile Type Approval Test Department of the Laboratory is the only organization in Japan that performs tests of Motor Vehicles about the conformity with safety, environmental, fuel consumption and other standards of Japan from a fair and neutral standpiont. Additionally, there is a Type Notification System mainly for buses and trucks and a Preferential Handling Procedure for imported motor vehicles.
Under this system, motor vehicle equipment is checked in advance about the conformity with safety and environment standards set by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport. Motor vehicles installed with the equipment approved for type designations are exempt from examinations of the relevant equipment when applications are submitted for a motor vehicle type designation, etc., streamlining the examination procedure. In 1998, Japan acceded to the UN/ECE 1958 Agreement and make an efforts towards the international harmonization of certification procedures. Equipment, whose type has been designated in Japan, will be treated as it is conforming to standards of other signatory nations as well. *As of March 2003, a total of 42 devices had been adopted as the items covered by Mutual Recognition.