Follow Sarah’s OCONUS to OCONUS journey here:  1, 2, 4, 5, 6


Olympic PCS e1340020468834
Olympic PCS e1340020468834

There are several milestones when planning a PCS to Okinawa: sending off your shipments, the long oceanic flight, finding a house, and getting a car. When you leave, these same events have to be reversed: you pack again, check out of housing, book your plane tickets for the other direction and, somehow, get rid of the cars in your position.

We had two cars. One was in an accident and will be recycled/junked. Our other car was sold to new arrivals. Here’s how we did it. Hopefully you can learn from our experience.

Olympic PCS Lemon Lot
Olympic PCS Lemon Lot

1. Advertising:

a. Okinawa Yard Sales (under the parent site of bookoo). To advertise your car you will need an account. If you don’t have one already, you can create an account for free. If you would like to add pictures–really, who is going to buy a car that you can’t see?–you will need to have a premier membership. One month of a premier membership costs $8.00, but if you haven’t had an account before (I hadn’t) a trial membership is free for a month. So I signed up for a free premier account, added a few pictures and posted.

b. Lemon Lot (officially Auto Resale Lot). We also registered and parked our car on Kadena’s Lemon Lot, a parking lot full of cars for sale.
Location: On the corner of Kuter and Davis, across from the Banyan Tree Enlisted Club.
To register: Kadena’s Auto Hobby Center is on McKennon Ave. If you are driving from Gate 1 on Douglas, turn left just before the Housing Office. The Auto Hobby Center will be on your right.  It is $10 to register for 14 days. You will need to show registration paperwork and provide contact information.
There is also a smaller Lemon Lot on Foster. Contact Camp Services at 645-7317 for more information.

c. Other options that we tried were word of mouth advertising to friends and posting pictures on a few no-cost Facebook advertising pages.

2. Making the deal:

At first we heard nothing. Not a peep. Then we dropped our price a couple of times and knew that we had dropped it enough when potential buyers started contacting us. We were contacted both by people who saw the car on the Lemon Lot (4 total) and Bookoo (3 total). We arranged to meet with the first person that contacted us and kept the contact information for those who were next in line, just in case the first sale fell through. We met the potential buyers at the Lemon Lot, even though they found the car on bookoo. They were satisfied and wanted to buy the car, but it was Friday evening so the actual sale would have to wait until Monday morning.

3. Making it legal:

This is a multi-step process, therefore the “Relay Race” title, but if you are ready with the right paperwork, come at a time with low lines, and the facilities you need are open, it can be done in about an hour.

Olympic PCS Car Info
Olympic PCS Car Info

a. Obtain a Letter of Attorney.
This can be done at either JSVRO (Joint Services Vehicle Registration Office) near Foster’s commissary or Kadena Legal. JSVRO is open 0730-1600 Monday – Friday. Our buyer had gone through JSVRO for his first car and said the process there took over two hours due to wait time. We went to Kadena’s legal office (located near Gate 1 behind the static aircraft) and were in and out in a few minutes, but their walk-in hours are very limited. Currently they are Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 0900-1000.

This step needs to be done by the sponsor (or dependent with power of attorney) regardless of whether you sell the first or second car. There is a specific Letter of Attorney form to be filled out. At Kadena Legal they had the forms ready at a small counter just inside the front door. Read the directions carefully. It does not say it on the form, but you need to print last name then first name, or they will not accept the form. The only other items needed were IDs.

At JSVRO they will stamp the Letter of Attorney twice; at Kadena Legal it needs to be signed twice to make it legal. This document is good for seven days and is needed for the next step.

b. Title Transfer.
Our car was insured by OTS in the Kadena USO. They took care of the next two steps and are open 0900-1730 Monday – Friday and 0900-1630 on Saturday.

Items needed for the Title Transfer:
i. Seller provides (All of these were in our car registration pack):

1. Original Japanese Title (purple/gray)
2. Military Registration (Form 430)
3. JCI Insurance Policy
4. Road Tax Receipt for the current year

ii. Buyer provides:

1. Sofa Drivers License and corresponding ID.

a. If it is their first car it needs to be the sponsor’s license and ID.
b. If it is their second car it needs to be the dependent’s license and ID (or proof the at you have junked a previous vehicle). The dependent does not need to be present. The sponsor, or dependent with power of attorney, does need to be present regardless of first or second car.

2. ¥3,500 for Title Transfer.

iii. Both the seller and the buyer need to be present.

c. Insurance.

i. The buyer will need to purchase insurance before the car can be transferred. The easiest way to handle it is to take care of it all in the insurance office while handling the title transfer. That’s what we did.

ii. The seller gets a refund for the remaining amount on their insurance policy.

d. Make the sale.
We exchanged keys for cash while we were still at the insurance company.

Whew! I’m exhausted from our relay race! We didn’t end up with a medal, but do have a little extra cash for the move and one less checklist item to do. One final reminder: you need to have all cars cleared from your name before you PCS!

Old post about selling your car can be found here.