The Tokyo Imported Automobile Show ’97, featuring some 230 vehicles from nine countries, will open Jan. 17 at the Tokyo Big Sight in Ariake.The show, sponsored by the Japan External Trade Organization and the Japan Automobile Importers’ Association, will run until Jan. 19. The sponsors said they are expecting about 230,000 people to attend the event.Registration of imported vehicles rose 10.1 percent in 1996 to 427,525 units. It was the third year in a row of record high volume. Sales of foreign brands are continuing to show double-digit increases, helped by the increasing popularity of European makes, while those of vehicles produced overseas by Japanese automakers and imported to Japan dropped 15.1 percent in 1996. The JAIA predicts that although the recent depreciation of the yen is pressuring foreign automakers, sales of imported vehicles will continue to grow as the firms step up efforts to expand their sales networks and introduce models that meet Japanese needs.