Fukuoka begins commercial driver's license tests in foreign languages

Police in the western Japanese prefecture of Fukuoka have become the nation's first to offer commercial driver's license tests in foreign languages.

Written tests with questions in English, Chinese, Vietnamese and Nepalese were introduced on Wednesday at four driver's license centers in the prefecture. The Fukuoka police say there have been no applicants so far.

The test questions were made by the prefectural police, based on examples provided by the National Police Agency.

Devices that enable exchanges in 134 languages have also been installed at the license centers.

Staff at a center in Iizuka City demonstrated how the device works.

Inada Koichi of the Fukuoka Prefectural Police headquarters said they are working to enable foreign nationals to take tests smoothly.

He said that to ensure fairness, they will take measures to prevent any discrepancies among the tests administered in different languages.

Japan is struggling with a chronic shortage of bus and taxi drivers. A cap on drivers' work hours, which will be imposed from April, is expected to worsen the problem.

The Japanese government is set to decide shortly on adding "commercial vehicle driving" to its specified skilled worker program, which aims to attract foreign workers to sectors facing labor shortages.