Boost industry through tax cuts, technology, new JAMA head says

by Hiroko Nakata

YOKOHAMA — The Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association wants the new administration to take steps to support the country’s top-flight vehicle emission-reduction technologies and cut corporate and car-related taxes to help the industry compete on the global stage, the group’s new head, Toshiyuki Shiga, said in an interview Friday.

“Japan is in the top status in the fields of environment and safety technologies, such as electric vehicles, hybrids and rechargeable batteries. We want the next government to back up our development and capital investment,” said Shiga, who was approved as JAMA chairman two weeks ago.

Shiga, also the chief operating officer of Nissan Motor Co., spoke just as former Finance Minister Naoto Kan was set to become prime minister Friday.

The industry has long complained that both corporate and car-related taxes are much higher than those in other developed countries.

Shiga also said JAMA will call on the government to promote free trade and economic partnership accords, and protect intellectual property rights.

The new government should ease people’s worries about the future by promoting solid strategies to boost the country’s economic growth, he said.

“After starting with high public support in September, the (Hatoyama) government unfortunately ended its short life, and could not show a clear vision of the country’s growth,” Shiga said of the administration of Yukio Hatoyama, who resigned Wednesday. “What we’d like the next prime minister to do is show us a blueprint of how Japan will grow. If he does that, people’s worries about the future would be erased.”