Japan’s recent ban on most used-car sales to Russia has had a significant impact on a trade that was nearing $2 billion annually. The ban, implemented in early August, cuts off a lucrative channel for trade in used cars between the two countries, particularly through export hub Fushiki. Russia’s demand for second-hand cars from Japan had soared after global automakers scaled back operations in response to the Ukraine crisis. In 2020, Russia was buying over a quarter of Japan’s used-car exports. However, the ban has led to a drop in prices for second-hand cars in Japan and has forced brokers to redirect their vehicles to other right-hand drive markets, such as New Zealand, Southeast Asia, and Africa.
Japan has long been a leading exporter of used cars due to a system of mandatory inspections that raises maintenance costs for domestic customers. As a result, hundreds of thousands of Japanese cars have been exported and sold in countries around the world. However, the ban on used-car sales to Russia has resulted in a decline in business for Japanese car exporters, leading to job losses and a surge in the number of used cars available in the domestic market. While some businesses have welcomed the decline in prices, it has had a significant negative impact on the used-car export industry in Japan.
Overall, Japan’s ban on used-car sales to Russia has disrupted a trade worth nearly $2 billion annually. It has wiped out Russia’s largest source of used cars and led to a decline in prices for second-hand cars in Japan. Brokers have been forced to redirect their vehicles to other right-hand drive markets, while businesses in Japan have experienced a decline in sales and job losses. The ban has had a significant negative impact on the used-car export industry in Japan, which has been a major player in the global market for decades.