May 17, 2013

Outline of JAMA Business Activity in Fiscal 2013

Encompassing a broad spectrum of supporting industries, automobile manufacturing in Japan is a core sector of the national economy.  As such, it shoulders a major responsibility in contributing to economic welfare and to citizens’ livelihoods.

Japan’s new government, which came to power at the end of last year, has embarked on a mission to revitalize the Japanese economy through the formulation and implementation of new growth strategies.  In fiscal 2013 (ending March 31, 2014), the economy is expected to pick up steam as a result of various factors including government stimulus measures and an improved export environment thanks to a turnaround in the value of the yen, as well as modest economic recovery worldwide.

As a leading representative of Japan’s manufacturing sector, the automobile industry must play a central role in helping to fuel domestic economic recovery.  To that end, multiple issues need to be addressed including, first and foremost, revitalization of the home market and enhancement of the business environment.  JAMA will harness the full range of its resources to advance motorization in Japan while promoting the safeguarding of the nation’s manufacturing traditions.

1. Revitalizing the Domestic Market
JAMA will seek, on the basis of broad-ranging policies, to reach the widest possible public in promoting the appeal and enjoyment of automobile and motorcycle use.  A principal focus will be the 43rd edition of the Tokyo Motor Show, “the world’s leading technology-driven motor show,” to be held in November this year on the theme of “shaping the future.”  In addition to providing the opportunity to experience “a totally new future”—to be created through competition in technology, design, applications and other values—in a highly interactive atmosphere encouraging the participation of young adults and featuring latest-model automobile and motorcycle test drives, the “Smart Mobility City 2013” special exhibit will showcase safe, efficient, and convenient mobility made possible by advanced information and communication systems connecting next-generation vehicles with social infrastructure.    
Meanwhile, the need remains for sweeping revisions to Japan’s auto-related tax regime to create an environment more conducive to the purchase and use of cars and motorcycles.  In this respect, the government’s decision to abolish the automobile acquisition tax—an initiative that was incorporated into its fiscal 2013 tax reform package—is a welcome move; that the package did not include any decision on the automobile tonnage tax is, however, regrettable.  Nevertheless, in view of projected increases in the national consumption tax, this development will have little impact on the overall tax burden imposed on motor vehicle owners in Japan.  During the current fiscal year, JAMA, together with other concerned organizations, will therefore continue to lobby the relevant government authorities for more comprehensive automotive tax reform, including the elimination of the tonnage tax.
A further focus of activity for JAMA in terms of domestic market revitalization will be the promotion of increased safety and enhanced automotive environmental performance for all motor vehicle users.  Accordingly, JAMA members will advance the development and timely market introduction of vehicles equipped with leading-edge safety and environmental technologies.  In tandem with those efforts, JAMA will continue to promote safer and cleaner road transport by advocating, among other measures, the early achievement of a national road infrastructure integrating Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS); the expansion of road networks; and the construction of parking lots. 

2. Enhancing the Business Environment
Extremely harsh business conditions in recent years prompted Japan’s automakers to redouble their efforts to ensure their survival and, even more fundamentally, the sustainability of Japanese manufacturing.
Since late December 2012, the value of the yen on foreign exchange markets has undergone a considerable turnaround.  Other issues of concern still need to be addressed, however, including delays in Japan’s entry into economic partnership and free trade agreements and uncertainty with respect to the reliability of Japan’s electric power supply.
In the current fiscal year, the Japanese automobile industry will continue to champion Japan’s technological and competitive strengths while taking every possible action to uphold Japanese manufacturing and meet its responsibilities as a pillar of the national economy.  For its part, JAMA will maintain its pursuit of greater understanding by the government with respect to current conditions confronting the Japanese motor industry, so that policies may be implemented that will help promote the industry’s sustainability and competitiveness.