December 12, 2008

JAMA Comments on the Japanese Government’s
Fiscal 2009 Tax Reform Initiative

Satoshi Aoki, Chairman

As part of the reforms now being advanced by the Japanese government in the national tax system, the decision has been taken to approve measures to exempt various types of low carbon-emitting vehicles1 from the imposition of both the automobile acquisition tax and the tonnage tax, in the interest of promoting sustainable mobility in Japan.

The Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA) applauds this initiative and welcomes the aforementioned measures as bold steps in a critical economic climate, in which vehicle sales in Japan are suffering serious declines. Aimed at promoting domestic demand in a context of greater environmental responsibility, these measures reflect sound and balanced policy.

On the issue of further revisions to Japan’s auto tax regimen, the position of the government is summarized in its official statement that, “With regard to automobile taxation, and along with efforts to simplify the tax system, the present status of tax rates—including the increases provisionally applied to those rates—will be comprehensively reviewed in the process of studying the goal of reducing the burden [on vehicle users].”

JAMA strongly endorses this stance, having long held the position that any reform of the national tax system should also include basic amendments to the automobile taxation framework. We therefore look forward to continued efforts on the part of the government to lower the excessive tax burden imposed on motor vehicle users in Japan.

1The vehicles concerned are electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, hybrid buses and trucks, and hybrid and other passenger cars that run on clean energy. In addition, the government intends to increase the reductions which, under Japan’s green tax scheme, are currently applied, in the case of both the acquisition tax and the basic automobile tax, to the purchase of highly fuel-efficient vehicles.