CAMP FOSTER — U.S. service members and civilian status of forces agreement personnel stationed in Japan are now eligible to use the electronic toll collection card program on toll roads in Japan.
The ETC program provides a measure of convenience and savings based on location when compared to paying normal toll charges during peak commuting periods. Recently, a Japanese company made the ETC program available to SOFA personnel and their families.
“The ETC program was previously unavailable to SOFA personnel because the ETC bill was traditionally paid only by Japanese residents through their Japanese bank accounts or credit cards,” said Gary Snyder, the deputy assistant chief of staff, G-4, logistics, with Marine Corps Installations Pacific and Marine Corps Base Camp Smedley D. Butler. “This was a major hurdle since most SOFA residents do not have access to opening Japanese bank accounts.”
The creation of a simplified method for SOFA personnel and their families allows them to take advantage of ETC card benefits. The new system has a secure, direct-billing process for a SOFA member’s credit card, according to Snyder.
“I’d say the entire sign-up process may be completed within a week, provided a person orders the ETC reader and it is installed after completing the online sign-up/acceptance process,” said Snyder.
Monetary savings will vary, and are directly tied to an individual’s use of the expressway, according to Snyder. Early morning and early evening commutes are two of the larger cost-saving time windows under the program.