SHIZUOKA (Kyodo) Police in Shizuoka Prefecture said Tuesday they will allow applicants for driver’s licenses to take driving tests in Portuguese, possibly starting in April, mainly for the benefit of Brazilians living in Japan.

While driving tests in English have been introduced in all 47 prefectures and Chinese versions are conducted in Miyagi, Kyoto, Wakayama and Kumamoto prefectures, Shizuoka will be the first to provide Portuguese tests.

Aichi Prefecture is considering following suit because a large number of Brazilians of Japanese descent live there. Many have been living in the prefecture since the 1990s, working mainly at auto factories. Both Aichi and Shizuoka are also planning to introduce driving tests in Chinese.

Of the 4,477 foreign nationals who took driving tests between January and November last year in Shizuoka Prefecture, 1,862 were Brazilians, of whom more than 70 percent took it in English, according to the police.

They said they were not comfortable taking the test either in Japanese or English and wanted to take it in their mother tongue, authorities added.

Tokushima Prefecture used to conduct driving tests in Korean, but suspended them when there weren’t very many applicants.

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