Kishida Calls Next 10 Years ‘Crucial’ to Winning Auto Competition: Japan Preparing Decade-Long Strategy to Keep ASEAN as Hub for Greener Cars

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida emphasised that the next decade will be pivotal for Japan’s automotive industry as it faces intensifying global competition. Speaking at a press conference today, Kishida outlined a comprehensive strategy aimed at securing Japan’s leadership in the production of environmentally friendly vehicles, with a significant focus on maintaining and expanding its presence in the ASEAN region.

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“The automotive sector is at a crossroads, with rapid advancements in electric and hybrid technologies reshaping the industry,” Kishida said. “The next ten years are crucial. Japan must not only adapt but lead in this transformative period.”

To achieve this, the Japanese government is set to roll out a series of initiatives designed to bolster the country’s competitive edge. Central to this strategy is a decade-long plan to position ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) as a central hub for greener car manufacturing. This region, known for its robust automotive production capabilities and growing market potential, is seen as a strategic partner in Japan’s efforts to push forward with sustainable automotive innovations.

Kishida detailed several key components of this plan:

  1. Investment in Technology and Innovation: Japan will increase funding for research and development in electric vehicles (EVs), hybrid technology, and hydrogen fuel cells. Collaboration between Japanese automakers and ASEAN countries will be encouraged to spur innovation and share technological advancements.
  2. Infrastructure Development: The strategy includes significant investments in infrastructure to support the production and adoption of green vehicles. This encompasses building EV charging stations, enhancing manufacturing facilities, and developing supply chains that are efficient and environmentally friendly.
  3. Trade and Economic Partnerships: Strengthening economic ties with ASEAN nations through favourable trade agreements and economic partnerships will be a priority. Japan aims to create a mutually beneficial ecosystem that supports the growth of the automotive sector in these countries.
  4. Environmental Regulations and Standards: Establishing and harmonising environmental regulations and standards across ASEAN will be essential. Japan plans to work closely with ASEAN governments to ensure that environmental standards are met, promoting the production of vehicles that are both efficient and eco-friendly.
  5. Skills Development and Workforce Training: Recognising the importance of a skilled workforce, the Japanese government will invest in training programs to equip workers in both Japan and ASEAN with the necessary skills for the evolving automotive industry.

The Prime Minister underscored the importance of these initiatives not only for the automotive sector but also for broader economic and environmental goals. “By leading the way in green automotive technology, Japan can contribute significantly to global efforts to combat climate change while ensuring our economic vitality and technological leadership,” he stated.

Industry analysts have welcomed Kishida’s announcement, noting that Japan’s commitment to greener vehicles and its strategic focus on ASEAN could provide a substantial boost to both regional and global automotive markets. With this forward-looking strategy, Japan aims to navigate the challenges of the next decade and emerge as a leader in the sustainable automotive revolution.

As the world shifts towards more sustainable and eco-friendly solutions, Japan’s proactive approach could set a benchmark for other nations. The next ten years, as Kishida highlighted, will indeed be crucial—not just for Japan, but for the global automotive industry at large.

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