Be Careful: Pedestrians Can Also be Charged with Violating Japan’s Traffic Laws!

Pedestrians under Japan’s Road Traffic Act (Tsūkō Hō・通行法) are considered vulnerable road users and tend to be given preference when it comes to the law. However, this priority is not without its limits, and pedestrians can also be charged with a crime depending on the situation of an accident. When it comes to violations made by motor vehicles, a ticket will be issued based on the traffic violation notifications system, but there are many laws which pedestrians must also follow. This includes obeying things like traffic lights and police hand signals. Those who are found to be in violation of the rules will be subject to a police warning, a fine, and/or penalty. In the event of a traffic accident, a pedestrian may be held liable on charges for “negligence” or “gross negligence.” Please be aware that no matter how minor a traffic violation is, if it results in the injury or death of another person, then it is possible to be charged with “negligent homicide” or “gross negligence resulting in death or injury.”                

For more details, please check the Japanese Government’s official information site, known as e-Gov. The site is available in Japanese (please note that a high level of language comprehension and special vocabulary is needed to navigate the Japanese portion of the website). Recently, an English version has been made available.

  • It is recommended for people who need assistance in interpreting the law to consult with a lawyer who has a high-level of Japanese and comprehension of specialty words.


The e-Gov website provides legal data authenticated by each government ministry regarding the Constitution, laws, government orders, imperial ordinances, government ordinances, ministerial orders, and other regulations. For data on laws and regulations that are not yet being enforced, the site provides articles which reflect the revised content by the date they are scheduled to come into effect.

The e-Gov Portal is a website developed and managed by the Digital Agency (Dejitaru Chō) with the purpose of contributing to information navigation, targeting information on policies and measures provided by administrative agencies, administrative services, various online services, etc.