Motorists flocked to transport authority offices nationwide Wednesday morning to apply for customized license plates under a new system that allows people to choose their favorite numbers instead of having numbers assigned.

The new system was introduced Wednesday at 26 reservation centers at some of the Transport Ministry’s regional vehicle registration offices. The system will be expanded on a nationwide basis within a year.

If more than one motorist applies for the same license plate number in a given region, the authorities choose the winner by a computer lottery. Officials expect applicants to rush for certain numbers, such as “7777.”

According to the ministry, the new system was made possible by its new computerized system, which increased the variation of usable numbers ten-fold. People who successfully obtained their favorite numbers will have to pay fees ranging from 3,860 yen to 4,200 yen. Because transport authorities will make the plates on an order basis, the motorists will need to wait for about a week to get their new plates.

Yoichiro Nagumo, 22, a hotel employee from Setagaya Ward, was one of more than 10 people who visited a reservation center in Tokyo’s Shinagawa Ward. “I applied for the number ‘1,’ which I’ve always wanted to see on my license plate. I think I can feel more affection for my vehicle if it has my favorite number,” Nagumo said.

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