Comments 3

Suzuki v Coach – A Demonstration of The Pauli Exclusion Principle

Japanese Car Insurance

The Swift after its encounter with a coach

The Pauli Exclusion Principle states that no two objects can occupy the same place at one time. Unfortunately, two weeks ago, an Okinawan coach driver tried to bend the rules of quantum mechanics by attempting to move his vehicle through mine.

The driver attempted to merge into the space in front of me while I was stationary on Route 58 in Nago. As his back end came closer and closer I beeped my horn. The bus driver continued on, gouging the front bumper and right wing of my car and then stopped.

It was just a minor scrape and nothing serious, both the bus driver and I gave statements to the police, exchanged insurance information and went on our separate ways. I talked to my insurance company, but found that due to end of year vacation nobody could look at my car until Jan 4th.

Dropped off my car today, picked up a loaner, and everything will get repaired.

The one issue that does remain is exactly whose insurance will be paying for the repairs. You might assume that the bus company’s insurance would pay for everything, but in Japan blame is rarely attributed entirely to one driver. If the discussion between insurance companies results in me being given a token 10% of the blame, my insurance will pay for 10% of the damage to my car and the bus, and next year’s insurance premium will go up.

One positive note is that so far I’ve managed to use my temperamental Japanese skills to converse with a bus driver, police, insurance agents and mechanics. After more than a decade in Japan it’s quite nice to know that I can make myself understood (eventually) even if I am butchering the language as I do it.

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Travel writer and photographer living in Okinawa, Japan


  1. Here the insurers will try to blame both parties, and raise the insurance premium as well! As a youth I collided with a girl running a red light and trying to drive down a one-way lane the wrong way, and I did have a witness. Still our insurer thought we should split the blame!!! It was my dad’s car, so he talked to the insurer, telling him that it would be a pleasure to go to court, invoking further costs for the insurer! The insurer, magically changed his tune, and not even the premium was raised!

    A colleage, who to avoid a car, involved in a car-chase, that was heading straight at him, ran into the ditch, severely damaging his own car. He got nothing from the insurer, even though the car he almost collided with was pursued by police. Very weird. Sadly it might be because he’s an immigrant, I don’t know. If he had collided with the car things would have been different, also very weird!

  2. If you are not moving at all, you can get 0% of the blame. Even if you are moving it’s possible (as I did when the kei-truck decided that my lane was preferable to his just as I was passing him). Like I said before though, my money’s on 20-30% you, just for the hell of it. For giggles, ask them to explain why exactly you are apportioned that amount of blame. Just be prepared for an uncomfortable silence 😉

    Your insurance might not go up so much though. After my… coming together… with the Pajero Mini (100% my fault), my insurance went up just Y3,000 a year.

  3. Pingback: Hardball with Ryukyu Bus Kotsu – 琉球バス交通 « Chris Willson's Blog

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