• Kyodo


Japan and the United States launched two days of auto negotiations here Wednesday, focusing on foreign access to the Japanese auto parts market and the development of environmentally friendly cars.

The talks mark the first plenary meeting of the bilateral Automotive Consultation Group.

The latter was created in October 2001 as a new consultation framework for auto and auto parts issues following the expiration of the bilateral auto trade accord at the end of 2000.

On the first day, the two countries discussed the procurement of foreign auto parts by Japanese carmakers and exports of U.S. repair auto parts to Japan, based on statistical data, Japanese officials said.

When the bilateral pact expired, U.S. auto parts makers called for the creation of a new consultation framework for auto and auto parts issues in a bid to gain greater access of their products to the Japanese market.

The two countries also reported progress in the development of fuel-cell cars by their automakers, the officials said.

Automakers around the world are accelerating efforts to develop fuel-cell cars, which are powered by electricity generated through a chemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen.

To help promote the spread of such environmentally friendly cars, Japanese agencies in December began using fuel-cell cars produced separately by Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co.

In 2002, the U.S. government announced a new public-private project to study and develop fuel-cell cars.

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