May 17, 2007

JAMA Fiscal 2007 Business Plan
Safety, Environmental Performance and Globalization are Priority Issues

Japan’s economy in fiscal year 2007 (ending March 31, 2008) is forecast to show continued positive growth, sustained by robust corporate capital investment and improved job and income environments, against a backdrop of stable growth for the global economy focused on the United States and Asia.

Solid gains in corporate earnings and other sectors should buoy income, leading to an anticipated recovery in personal spending beginning around mid-year.  However, in view of a major decline in the number of vehicles affected by Japan’s Motor Vehicle NOx & PM Emissions Act, domestic vehicle demand overall is projected to dip below the fiscal 2006 level.

Notwithstanding the impacts of expanded overseas production, currency rate fluctuations and respective corporate strategies, and taking into account the buoyancy of the U.S. and Chinese economies, export shipments should finish at about the same level as in 2006.

Motorcycle use in Japan was boosted by the introduction in 2005 of a new automatic-transmission motorcycle license category and the abolition of the ban on tandem riding on expressways, and by the application in 2006 of electronic toll collection to motorcycles.  However, the market will continue to be adversely impacted by Japan’s shrinking youth population and the drop in the number of new moped licensees.  As a result, total domestic motorcycle demand is expected to be lower than in 2006.

Automobile manufacturing is a core industry that plays a key role in fuelling further growth for the Japanese economy.  To fulfill that role, the industry must constantly be keenly attuned to the needs of contemporary society, making every effort to work from the consumer’s perspective in creating automobiles that will have heightened appeal to users over the years to come.

The entire range of issues to be addressed is broad.  First, with respect to environmental impact and safety, the supply of high-quality, high-appeal vehicles will require major efforts on the part of automakers.  Second, concerted efforts must also be made to improve the business environment and to advance the international harmonization of automotive technical regulations and certification systems in response to the aggressive globalization taking place within the industry.  Finally, a fundamental task is to create a more convenient and comfortable environment for the use of automobiles, which are indispensable to the conduct of daily activities.

Taking into account all of the foregoing, JAMA has established the following priority business objectives for fiscal 2007.

1.  Promoting Improved Vehicle Safety and Environmental Performance

Automotive safety and environmental performance have long been priority issues for JAMA.  In 2007 JAMA will continue to work towards further advances in these two areas.

Road fatalities in Japan in 2006 dropped to 6,352, marking the sixth straight year of decline and the lowest level recorded in 51 years.  Nevertheless, the numbers for road accidents and road injuries remained high, with the problem of drunken driving needing to be addressed with increased urgency.  Road safety in Japan thus remains a critical and pressing issue.

JAMA endorses the Japanese government’s declared goal of making Japan’s roads “the safest in the world” and continuously promotes the implementation of effective road safety measures, in terms of both “hardware” and “software,” through the expanded application of onboard safety technologies and the conduct of pertinent public awareness campaigns.

As regards environmental protection, JAMA member companies will continue in 2007 to work towards the achievement of Japan’s road transport-sector CO2 reduction target, as established under the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change; to improve air quality through reduced tailpipe emissions; and to promote the more widespread use of low-emission and clean-energy vehicles.  For its part, JAMA will not only advance its research activities and proposals to the government concerning measures to improve traffic flow but will continue to implement fuel economy-related initiatives, including public awareness campaigns promoting the adoption of eco-driving practices.

JAMA member companies are also committed to improving the automobile recycling rate, which currently exceeds 90% by vehicle weight, and will pursue this and other efforts contributing to the establishment of a recycling-oriented society.

2.  Addressing Globalization in the Automobile Industry

As automobile manufacturers around the world steadily expand their global business activities, the need for greater progress in the liberalization of trade and investment remains critical.  Against this background, JAMA welcomes the World Trade Organization’s promotion of multilateral trade pacts and the creation of economic partnership agreements.  JAMA intends to continue appealing to governments and auto industries overseas in support of the Japanese government’s initiatives in this area.

Meanwhile, in October this year Japan’s auto manufacturers will be hosting global auto industry meetings for both passenger cars and commercial vehicles (the fifth of each such meeting to be held).  These gatherings serve as important forums for auto industry leaders from the United States, Europe and Japan to deepen their mutual understanding of the common issues facing the global industry today, including vehicle emissions reduction, fuel quality, and the protection of intellectual property.  JAMA is working hard to ensure the success of this year’s global industry meetings and to promote ever more effective collaboration in addressing the challenges ahead.

3. Promoting a More User-Friendly Environment for Motorists

JAMA continuously advocates the adoption of measures aimed at creating a more user-friendly motoring environment.

Having opposed a national policy proposal to reallocate road-designated taxpayer revenue to the general revenue pool since the government’s inception of that plan, JAMA aligned itself in 2006 with the Japan Automobile Federation, the Automobile Tax Reform Forum, the petroleum industry and other concerned parties in firmly rejecting the proposed policy.  That move was reinforced by the submission of a petition signed by 10.35 million individual opponents to the plan.

Despite such efforts, the ruling coalition passed resolutions to maintain Japan’s numerous auto-related taxes at their current rates and to partially reallocate revenue earmarked for roads to the general account.  Certain that the majority of Japanese taxpayers will not support these measures, JAMA will continue to convey its strenuous opposition to the government in this regard.

To enhance the safety and convenience of vehicle use, JAMA will be promoting a broader implementation of intelligent transport systems, increased parking space availability in urban areas, and a greater diffusion of assisted-mobility vehicles.

Also in October, the 40th Tokyo Motor Show will mark another milestone for the Japanese automobile industry.  As of this year, the Tokyo Motor Show will cover passenger cars, motorcycles, and commercial vehicles in a single, biennial event.  At this gala global gathering organized by JAMA, the focus will be on vehicle safety, environmental performance and user-friendliness, featuring the best of contemporary automotive design in displays and special exhibits that will encourage the hands-on participation of visitors to the show