May 26, 2016

Outline of JAMA Business Activity in Fiscal 2016

For fiscal 2016 (ending March 31, 2017), notwithstanding expectations for a sustained moderate economic recovery in the United States, there are concerns about the impact on the global economy and markets of various factors including declining crude oil prices, instability in the foreign exchange sector, and the slowdown in emerging economies.  In Japan, domestic demand remains sluggish and with another increase in the national consumption tax scheduled from the start of fiscal 2017, conditions generally fail to encourage an optimistic outlook for the business environment.

Automobile manufacturing, which incorporates a broad spectrum of supporting industries, holds a core position in the national economy and thus has a critical role to play in the promotion of growth, employment, and a sound future for Japan.  In fiscal 2016, with numerous challenges facing the auto industry, the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association will continue to focus its efforts on three leading priorities: revitalizing the domestic vehicle market; improving the business environment; and achieving safe, comfortable, and sustainable mobility.

Revitalizing the domestic motor vehicle market
Revitalization of the domestic market is critical to the overall progress of Japan’s automobile industry.  In view of the success of the 44th Tokyo Motor Show held last autumn, which drew a total of over 810,000 visitors from Japan and overseas, the industry will strive to sustain the momentum that show generated to buttress the appeal of the automakers’ products, in the lead-up to the 2017 edition of the biennial Tokyo Motor Show.

Facilitating motor vehicle ownership and use is also key to home market revitalization.  Particularly in light of the scheduled hike in Japan’s consumption tax in April 2017, reducing the tax burden imposed on vehicle ownership and use will be crucial to invigorating domestic demand, and JAMA will therefore continue to lobby the government for significant revisions in Japan’s auto-related taxes.

In 2016 JAMA will also be promoting the implementation of educational programs on the safe operation of motorcycles, simplified requirements for their licensing, an expanded availability of parking bays, more appropriate expressways tolls and other initiatives to facilitate the ownership and use of motorcycles, so that a wider segment of the Japanese public will be encouraged to ride them.

Improving the business environment
Sustained growth of Japan’s economy is predicated on a strengthened industrial sector with increased international competitiveness.  Accordingly, JAMA looks forward to continued efforts on the part of the Japanese government to implement progressive corporate tax reform, further to its introduction of an initial rate cut, and improve the R&D investment environment, among other measures that will contribute to the auto sector’s greater international competitiveness.

Because our industry is deeply committed to global-scale business development, the creation of economic partnerships and the achievement of freer trade and investment based on the formulation of common rules are essential.  Of particular importance is the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement, which was signed by all the TPP member countries this February.  In line with this trade accord, the Japanese automobile industry intends to contribute both to  the Japanese economy and to the forging of closer intraregional economic ties.

Meanwhile, the launch of the ASEAN Economic Community at the end of last year boosted expectations for the increased global competitiveness of the ASEAN region as an integrated market.  Japanese automakers will be working to strengthen their ties in that market while contributing to local economic growth.

Achieving safe, comfortable and sustainable mobility
The Japanese automobile industry’s primary mission is to achieve sustainable mobility that is not only environmentally sound but also safe, comfortable and convenient.  Increasingly, the automakers are equipping their vehicles with advanced driver-assistance systems and other active safety features which use road-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-vehicle communication through the application of cutting-edge ICT technologies.

The automakers are now working towards the introduction of automated driving, targeting “zero” road accidents and “zero” congestion, optimally independent and stress-free mobility, and efficient freight transport, and serving the needs of all road users including motorcycle riders, bicyclists, and pedestrians.  To forge the social consensus required to enable the implementation of automated driving, the cooperation of all the stakeholders involved will be vigorously pursued.

In tandem with those initiatives and with meeting the Japanese government’s stated objective of making Japan’s roads the safest in the world, JAMA and its members will meanwhile continue to conduct their road safety awareness promotional campaigns and educational programs, as well as their lobbying activities for improvements in the road use environment.

With respect to energy and environmental issues, under the Paris Agreement adopted in December last year by the 21st Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21) and signed this April, all nations and regions will work together to reduce global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.  For its part, the Japanese automobile industry will strive to meet the Japanese government’s GHG emissions reduction targets for 2030 by advancing the development and commercialization of next-generation alternative-energy vehicles; by further improving the performance of conventional internal combustion engines; and by promoting smoother traffic flow through the implementation of an integrated approach that includes ecodriving.

Conjointly with those efforts, JAMA and its members will be working with related industries and petitioning for greater government support in expanding the infrastructure required for the wider use of fuel cell, electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles.

The Japanese automobile industry is joining forces with government, industry partners and the other stakeholders concerned to achieve genuinely innovative and eco-friendly mobility, not only in preparation for the landmark year of 2020 when Tokyo will be hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Games, but also for a brighter and sustainable future thereafter.