October 6th, 2003

Southern Africa is where all the used Japanese vehicles go to die.

I've seen a remarkable number of vans, minibuses, and trucks with Japanese writing on them here in Zambia, and to a lesser extent in Mozambique.

It makes sense, as both Japan and Southern Africa drive on the left side of the road, but it is surreal to see an Isuzu truck with the markings from some Japanese delivery company written in kanji and hiragana on the side, bouncing on down a dusty side street in Livingstone, Zambia.

I'm told the strict Japanese vehicle inspection regime gets harder and harder to pass as vehicles age. I'm sure an intended side-effect is to force people to buy new cars. Perhaps an unintended one is to create a huge supply of somewhat used left-hand drive vehicles at low prices. I imagine some middleman is making a killing selling all these Japanese vehicles down here in Africa.