Popularity of Lake Biwa License Plate Approaches KyotoSuitable for Any Vehicle
Applications for Shiga Prefecture's car license plate which depicts an island in Lake Biwa are increasing satisfactorily. At two months after issuance began, there were 1,136 applications, placing it at 11th of the 41 regions nationwide that have introduced their own patterned plates. Nearly 90 percent of applications were people choosing the full-color version which requires a donation of 1,000 yen or more in addition to the issuance fee.
In October, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism started issuing local place-name registration plates which are designed with patterns of scenic spots and the local specialties. They are expected to fill the role of a local "Running Poster." According to the ministry, as of the end of November, the Fukuyama license plate depicting professional baseball's Hiroshima Carp mascot ranked first in the number of applications with 5,798, and Kumamoto's plate with its prefectural promotion mascot "Kumamon" ranked second with 4,642 applications. In the Kinki Region, Nara and Kyoto license plates were ranked seventh with 1,438 applications and ninth with 1,222 cases respectively, with both breaking the top ten.
The number of applications for Shiga license plates is approaching those for the Kyoto one. The majority of applications, or 998 of them, were for its full-color version which requires a donation, rather than the monotone version which only requires the issuance fee (8,240 yen for a medium plate / 11,680 yen for a large plate). Hereafter, the donations will be utilized for regional transport and tourism promotion. Prefectures will seek the cooperation of transport and tourism industries in acquiring their patterned plates.
The design for the Shiga license plate, which was decided by a questionnaire for prefecture residents, is simple, with a green island in a blue lake and the logo for the prefectural symbol "Mother Lake" in the upper right. The prefectural planning and coordinating department said, "The design is not so flashy so our plate suits any vehicle. We think people who are attached to Shiga are choosing the plate."(Translated by Mie Hiuzon, Psyche et l’Amour, Inc.)