September 16, 2009

JAMA Comments on Launch of Hatoyama Cabinet

Satoshi Aoki, Chairman

JAMA hopes that, under strong leadership by Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, Japan’s new coalition government will waste no time in implementing policies that effectively address the current and anticipated future needs of Japanese citizens and the best interests of the nation as a whole. We look forward to the introduction of concerted programs targeting the many serious issues Japan faces at present, including harsh economic conditions both at home and abroad; the reconstruction of public finances; the problem of climate change; and reforms in the nation’s social security system.

In the formulation of policy, furthermore, we urge the Cabinet to lend an ear to the voices not only of private citizens but of industry as well, so that the measures which are finally adopted clearly reflect the popular will.

As regards the automobile industry specifically, encouraging signs have recently emerged, such as a recovery in domestic vehicle sales and the resumed hiring of employees on fixed-term contracts. The situation nevertheless remains severe, both in Japan and overseas, under the impact of last year’s business downturn.

JAMA member manufacturers meanwhile are working hard to supply products that appeal to and meet the needs of consumers, while JAMA itself is doing everything it can to help revitalize the marketplace. To that end, JAMA also continues to call for the streamlining and reduction of Japan’s onerous automobile ownership- and use-related taxes.

As a sector committed to the global-scale development of its operations, the automobile industry strongly supports efforts to advance trade talks conducted under the World Trade Organization and negotiations for the establishment of economic partnership and free trade agreements (EPAs and FTAs), in order to bring about improvements in overseas business environments.

To combat global warming, our industry’s priority efforts are focused on the development, manufacture and commercialization of vehicles offering outstanding environmental performance.

JAMA is concerned, however, with the goal recently announced by Prime Minister Hatoyama to reduce Japan’s greenhouse gas emissions by 25% compared to the 1990 level by 2020. Because this is expected to pose a heavy burden on economic activities, employment, and the public at large, we request that in the formulation of specific measures to meet its stated goal, the government clearly indicate the measures’ anticipated impacts in the three aforementioned areas, and that in their final form, the measures reflect the views of all sectors of Japanese society.

Of course, neither Japan nor any other nation can resolve the issue of global warming through its efforts alone. In this sense, JAMA concurs with the position of the Hatoyama Cabinet in regard to national greenhouse gas reduction targets—namely, that making pledges to the global community must be premised on achieving consensus on an ambitious approach which includes the participation of all the major greenhouse gas-emitting countries. We therefore strongly encourage the government to maintain its position in upcoming international negotiations on this issue, and to spare no effort in helping to formulate a fair, effective and indeed global framework that brings all of the world’s major emitters on board.