January 1, 2011

New Year’s Message

New Year’s Message:
New Milestones Ahead on the Road to Sustainability
Toshiyuki Shiga, Chairman
Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association, Inc.

Advancing Japan’s Manufacturing Craftsmanship:  The Japanese automobile industry’s centers of innovation are its domestic research-and-development and manufacturing bases, which turn out products characterized by cutting-edge technology and high added value.  JAMA’s member manufacturers intend to move this tradition of manufacturing craftsmanship forward within Japan’s borders, while translating the reduction of the corporate tax rate—a welcome decision recently taken by the Japanese government—into new investments.  We are confident that such advancement will help spur economic growth and support employment in Japan.

To reinforce Japan’s manufacturing strengths, there is at present a vital need for the Japanese business environment to shift up to a world-class level, so as to be on an equal footing on the global playing field.  In keeping with those goals, JAMA and its members will act to resist yen appreciation and continue to advocate currency rate stabilization, economic partnership and free trade agreements, and revisions in the status of labor administration, among other lobbying efforts directed at the Japanese government.

In the event of a prolonged absence of projections pointing to future economic growth and heightened demand, there will be a real risk that investment in domestic production activities will not be expanded to help maintain the level of Japan’s manufacturing craftsmanship.  Government-led growth strategies steadily implemented in tandem with vigorous private-sector initiatives are therefore imperative, in order not only to revive the domestic market but to move towards a sustainable cycle of buoyant demand and investment.

Making Low-Carbon Transport a Reality:  With the increasingly urgent need to transition to low-carbon transport, the automobile industry worldwide has entered a new phase in its evolution.  To excel in the global competition to supply environmentally-friendly vehicles, Japan’s automobile manufacturers will have to work even harder to maintain a frontrunner position in the area of automotive environmental technologies.   
Moreover, in line with the Next-Generation Vehicle Strategy announced by Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry in 2010, cooperation among industry, government and academia will be crucial in order to advance the development of batteries, international standards harmonization, the securing of resources, improvements in infrastructure, and other measures enabling the widespread use of next-generation alternative-energy vehicles.
Our member manufacturers are aiming to supply the world market as early as possible with these advanced green vehicles.  In doing so, they will help reassert Japan’s position as a country renowned for its leading-edge environmental technologies and dedicated to achieving a low-carbon society.

Providing Increased Safety and Greater Convenience in Vehicle Use:  One of the missions of Japan’s automakers is to advance research on and develop safer automobiles, in terms of both active safety (accident avoidance) and passive safety (injury mitigation), so as to promote even further reductions in Japan’s steadily declining annual numbers of fatalities and injuries resulting from road traffic accidents.

JAMA, too, continuously promotes measures aimed at providing an optimally safe, comfortable and convenient environment for vehicle use, not only for the direct benefit of vehicle users but also to help stimulate the domestic market.  Such measures include, among others, improvements to Japan’s road infrastructure, expanded parking space availability, and a less complex and reduced tax burden on vehicle ownership and use.

The 42nd Tokyo Motor Show will be held this December at Tokyo’s Big Sight venue (officially, the Tokyo International Exposition Center), symbolizing and celebrating the transition to a dynamic new era.  A brand-new feature of this year’s show will be “Smart Mobility City 2011,” an interactive exhibit depicting a typical urban transport network in the not-too-distant future, achieved by means of advanced information and communication technologies, environmentally-friendly automotive technologies, and the use of new, sustainable sources of energy to power road vehicles.  The show will also offer test drives in new-model vehicles and numerous additional opportunities for visitors to see, touch and otherwise experience the current progress being made in vehicle manufacturing.

This year, these and other activities will all be part of JAMA’s ongoing quest to heighten the public’s understanding of and interest in the appeal of automobiles.