April 27, 2000

Interim Findings of the Liberal Democratic Party on Measures against Diesel Vehicle Emission Gases

Today, the Liberal Democratic Party's Project Team of Measures against Diesel Vehicle Emission Gases has made public its Interim Findings on Measures against Diesel Vehicle Emission Gases.

The contents of this document indicate severity on the issue of tightening the regulations. The document also tries to offer the right thing at the right time by making mention of support measures for users. In view of the importance of the emission gas issue, the JAMA will devote its total effort to address this issue on the basis of the basic stance announced on March 16.

With regard to the question of the fulfillment of the new long-term regulation's being brought forward, the reduction of PM is technically inconsistent with the reduction of NOx and there must be a trade-off between them. In view of this, it is essential that a regulatory system be created in Japan in which importance should be attached to the reduction of PM in a well-balanced manner.

The user support measures referred to in the document should be given a concrete, specific content that will lead to early effective results.

  • On the 16th of the previous month, the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association publicly announced its "Initiative on the Reduction of Emission Gases from Diesel Vehicles," with all manufacturers in the relevant industries focusing their utmost efforts on the achievements of the targets presented in this Initiative.

  • The LDP's document also mentions support measures for users to reduce the expenses. In this respect, the Interim Findings have attracted the highest acclaim.

  • Demands for further comprehensive measures, including improvements in traffic flow, will continue to be upheld.

  • Full consideration should also be given to the issue in terms of the compatibility of the measures between the national and regional or local levels and from the viewpoint of harmonization with international standards.

  • In the future, new regulation values will be considered at the Central Environment Council. If the new long-term regulation are brought forward by two years the gap against the new short-term regulations will narrow. This will spur the manufacturers in the industry to initiate technical development with a view to achieving the new long-term regulations. To facilitate the technical development, it is desirable to fix the regulation values in the shortest possible time.

  • In this event, due consideration should be given to the fact that the NOx and PM issues are technically mutually exclusive. Comparison of the regulation values imposed so far in Europe and Japan shows that Japan regulations have also been tougher on NOx but less strict on PM. However, if Japan should move toward tighter measures on PM without easing the statutory reduction of NOx emission, the resulting situation can only be described as technically very difficult.

Looking back on the Chairman's four-year term of office

  • This four-year period was marked by very substantial change in the nature of the automobile industry. Change has affected not only the automobile sector but other industries also.

  • The most memorable event has been the various interchanges with the government on the regulation values at the time of the amendment of the Energy Saving Law. As the chairman I also conducted a series of discussions with the EU on the issue of CO2 emissions. On reflection I have has a very satisfying and active four years in office and thank everybody for their share in the work.