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Okay so I saw these walkie talkies on eBay that I want to buy but I live in Japan and I am not sure if they are legal. I did some research but couldn't figure out if they are or not. I am very much a beginner when it comes to walkie talkies etc. so any help would be very much appreciated. Here is the walkie talkie specs:

BAOFENG UV-3R 
VHF/ UHF  DUAL-BAND TWO WAY RADIO
Frequency Range: 136-174 / 400-470MHz
Output Power: 2 Watts
99 Channels + 1 Emergency Channel
50 CTCSS and 104 CDCSS
Built-in VOX Function
1750Hz Brust Tone
FM Radio (87.0MHz-108.0MHz)
25KHz/12.5KHz Switchable
Channel Step: 5/6.25/12.5/25KHz   

Here are some more:

Frequency Range
VHF136-174 UHF 400-470MHz (Dual Band)
Operating Voltage: 3.7V
Operating Temperature: -30c~+60c
Battery: (Li-ion)
Antenna Impedance: 50 ohm
Transmitter 
RF Power Output: UHF:2W/  
FM Noise: 65dB
Adjacent Channel Power:45dB/42dB

Receiver
Spurious response rejection: 60dB
Receiver current: 400mA
Standby Current: 75mA

Band:   UHF / VHF
Frequency Range:    VHF136-174 UHF 400-470MHz (Dual Band)

I hope these do work. Here is the link to the page. http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/351398723510 I thought it best to ask here before I buy because I don't want to get myself or my Dad in trouble with the law.

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General walkie-talkie radios are illegal in Japan. Even so in my military days there we used to use the ones on base in our cars when we traveled. They were not visible and we used head sets while driving. That being said we never got caught. At that time I did not even know they were not legal. Amateur is huge in Japan. I talk to people via echolink often. One fellow lives in Okinawa but was born and raised not far from where I was stationed. I catch him on a Hiroshima repeater just west of the city. He often talks to truck drivers who are licensed in Japan and they use mobiles in their rigs. But then they are doing it all legal. So without an amateur license, you run the risk of being busted. My recommendation is that you stick to cell phones. If you happen to get out of cell range for some reason, a radio back up would be nice but if you get caught, you pay the price. In Japan that could be very costly. Play by the rules and be safe.

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    $\begingroup$ Welcome to Amateur Radio Stack Exchange. Please take the tour to get the most out of this site: ham.stackexchange.com/Tour - and my recommendation is to just get your amateur radio license there. (One of my friends was Al Hisamoto, KL7AM, the Father of the JARL). I can't count the number of hams in Japan I have talked to via Morse from Alaska. $\endgroup$
    – SDsolar
    Jul 14 '17 at 2:32
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These cover a broad range, and would not be legal in all of the bands. (I'm assuming you are a licensed ham, BTW) From my research (See eham forms) it seems that the bands are both smaller in Japan, and don't permit repeaters in the 2m band. Of particular note is that the 70 cm band, which does allow repeaters, is much smaller, namely 430-440 MHz.

Personally, I would recommend buying one made for Japan, because it sounds like repeater offsets and other information are different in Japan than the US. You might be able to find a downloadable software upgrade that will configure the UV-3R to transmit only on the allowed Japanese frequencies.

If you are not licensed, then in the US you could operate on FRS radio. These radios are not configured in a legal FRS in the United States (They have to only be able to transmit on FRS frequencies). In Japan, there is no FRS radio, so normal walkie-talkies are illegal there as well.

Bottom line, I wouldn't take them, or any walkie-talkie, unless you are a licensed amateur radio operator, and even in that case, be careful!

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  • $\begingroup$ (I'm assuming you are a licensed ham, BTW) Well Actually I am not. I just wanted to get some walkie talkies that me and brothers could use and that were not just the toy ones that don't work well. $\endgroup$
    – MalMan35
    Nov 14 '15 at 2:12
  • $\begingroup$ Get an amateur radio license. You'll get far more than just a toy;-) $\endgroup$ Nov 14 '15 at 16:54
  • $\begingroup$ Does it cost money? Is it hard and/or complex to obtain? If so then my dad probably say no. $\endgroup$
    – MalMan35
    Nov 16 '15 at 9:00
  • $\begingroup$ Are you a Japanese citizen? If not, what country? $\endgroup$ Nov 16 '15 at 10:56
  • $\begingroup$ I am an American! Living on Japanese soil (not a military base) $\endgroup$
    – MalMan35
    Nov 16 '15 at 11:41
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Like others have suggested, radios in the frequency bands stated are not for leisure use. If you're looking for a radio for casual leisure use, you'd want to consider either:

  • The low-power (0.1W) Tokutei Shoudenryoku Musen (Specified Low Powered Radio) (特定小電力無線局) radios, which are ready to use out of the box with no registration, license, or yearly spectrum use fees. These have a range of about 0.3km to 1km). OR
  • The high-power (~5W, range of about 1km to 5km, and somewhat expensive) digital kan-i registration radios デジタル簡易無線, which are super powerful and don't need a license, but must be registered in Japan. These operate on UHF 351Mhz. Costs about 2,400yen to register one handset for 5 years, plus 450yen per year in spectrum use fees.

There's a super deep-dive here: https://hokkaidowilds.org/two-way-radios-in-the-hokkaido-backcountry

Apologies for the self-promotion, but I've also made a free English-language tool to generate printable Japanese registration docs here: https://hokkaidowilds.org/how-to-register-two-way-digital-kan-i-radios-in-japan-in-english

You can also register devices just by filling in the Japanese forms and sending them away. You can get the Japanese forms from each telecommunications bureau jurisdiction's website. E.g., Hokkaido - https://www.soumu.go.jp/soutsu/hokkaido/E/cr/dwn10.htm

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    $\begingroup$ Hello Robert, and welcome to this site! And since your tool is free, that really isn't self-promotion. :-) $\endgroup$
    – Mike Waters
    May 16 at 20:48
  • $\begingroup$ I noticed that there is a section there about Amateur Radio. By "leisure use", is that what you mean? $\endgroup$
    – Mike Waters
    May 16 at 20:53
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    $\begingroup$ Cheers Mike. Sorry, the 'leisure use' term is a bit ambiguous; digital simple registration radios can be used for work purposes also, as well as for individuals in non-work scenarios. I guess the point is that license-free radios (e.g., the 341Mhz digital simple radios) are license-free, making them accessible to the average user (registration requirements notwithstanding). HAM and other VHF and UHF on different frequencies need the user to be licensed. $\endgroup$ May 17 at 21:52

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