Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why is it so important to get a history check?

Unfortunately, many countries receiving used vehicles from Japan are either unable or unwilling to solve the problem of odometer tampering. Japan, as the world's largest exporter of used vehicles, has gone part way to reducing the problem (in Japan, at least) by listing the odometer reading every time vehicles are re-registered (which occurs every two years). Some countries (such as New Zealand) have strict requirements that significantly reduce the risk, unfortunately other countries have failed to take these learnings. Our Japanese vehicle history reports can help you understand the true condition and history of the Japanese car you are looking to purchase or already own.

Q: How come you don't provide checks directly anymore?

Sadly, decreasing order volumes and increased competition from copy-cat services made it impractical to continue direct services to customers. We'll keep blogging and making consumers aware of these issues. We have recommended some alternative service options - see here.

Q: But the car I'm considering is immaculate! Surely the condition of the car will give the game away?

Dealers will often go to great lengths to prepare Japanese import cars for sale and hide signs of higher mileage. A new steering wheel and gearknob, re-covering of seats, even providing falsified documentation to match the odometers of tampered vehicles, so that to the untrained eye the vehicle will appear to be genuine. Many innocent buyers have been fooled.

The only guaranteed way to know that your imported vehicle's mileage is genuine is to check a genuine copy of the registration records and verify the auction sheet. At JHC we can assist you in indepentantly obtaining and translating these documents.

Q: I want to get hold of Japanese logbook or servicing records for my vehicle exported from Japan - is that possible?

Sorry, it is not possible for to get hold of these records. Check providers can typically retrieve the auction sheet and registration certificate documents only. The auction sheet will record whether the vehicle logbook was with the car when it went to auction (and therefore should have been with the car at export/import).

Q: The seller has provided me with a copy of the vehicle's export certificate - how do I know that it is genuine?

There are a variety of security features on original export certificates that are designed to verify their authenticity.  While we'd prefer not to list all these features, it's worth noting that there are a number of QR codes at the base of the document that will give the details of both the document and the vehicle in question. If you have a smart phone equipped with a QR code reader, you can gather details such as the document number and the registration and VIN/chassis number of the vehicle to make sure it matches with the data on the rest of the document.

Having said that, the QR code data doesn't guarantee that the document is unaltered, especially where the odometer reading is listed. As always, a history check is the only sure-fire way to ensure your export certificate is genuine.

The other crucial factor is that one must understand how to correctly interpret the Export Certificate - for instance people make the common mistake of assuming that the highest mileage reading on the document must have been the car's mileage reading at the time of export (this is NOT the case).

Q: What is a refreshed export certificate?

One technique we're seeing more regularly is 'refreshing' of export certificates, where a vehicle is de-registered, has the odometer wound back, is re-registered twice, then is de-registered again for export. The result is that the export certificate shows the new, lower reading twice, only a few days apart. This process is costly and quite time-consuming, but has been used very effectively by some dealerships to deceive both customers and other odometer verification services. If you request a history check through us, we will be able to spot if the vehicle concerned has a refreshed export certificate, and we will advise you accordingly.

Q: Who is Japanese History Check and where are you based?

For security and personal safety reasons, we prefer to remain anonymous, but we are a small group of enthusiasts, based in four different countries, committed to providing transparency for all purchasers of used Japanese vehicles around the world.

We've been operating via our website and facebook page for over 5 years. You can find plenty of good feedback about our operation via car club forums or our facebook page.

Sadly, a few copy-cats have popped up sporting similar names within the last few years, beware their reputations and/or their prices!

Q: I've received a registration document and some of the information has been blacked out. Why?

The Japanese government is surprisingly forthcoming with the information it provides on registration documents. We pass as much of this on to you as possible. We blank out the previous owner's address details, because in most situations they're not involved in odometer tampering and would be completely oblivious to its very existence. For our own safety, we also blank out the details of the MLIT branch used to retrieve the information.