• Kyodo

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Used car dealers in the Russian Far East and coastal areas of Japan near them praised a Russian decision to rescind new rules that would have dealt a potentially fatal blow to business in the region.

At issue is a new Russian government technical standard, that makes it impossible to register a motor vehicle in Russia without a 17-digit Vehicle Identification Number. The rule was to take effect on Sept. 23,

Motor vehicles manufactured in Europe and North America carry the required VIN code, but the vehicle ID tag in Japanese vehicles has only 11 digits.

Moscow said the decision was made to avoid the risk of “social confusion” in the Russian Far East region.

“In Siberia and in the Far East, the income of a large part of the local residents depends on the import of used cars,” the government statement said.

The Russian government’s decision was welcomed by used car dealers in Japan.

“If Japanese used cars are barred from Russia, it would be a blow to both Japan and Russia,” said a used car dealer in the Sanin area.

Japanese vehicles are popular in the Russian Far East, and the announcement of the VIN requirements triggered protests in the region.

Domestic opposition caused Russia’s Trade and Industry Ministry to revise the language concerning VIN code requirements. On Thursday, the Russian government presidium announced that it will make an exception to VIN rules for “means of transport” shipped to Russia.

Japanese and Russian used car dealers, however, remain apprehensive, because Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has suggested Moscow may once again raise taxes on car imports on the heels of a hike on Jan. 1 last year.

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