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On the Way to a Low-carbon Society? Japan’s Tax Reforms and Incentive Scheme for Fostering Ecological Friendly Cars and Their Market Effects
Submitted by Holger Bungsche, School for International Studies, Kwansei Gakuin University on 30 avr. 2010 - 11:21
Type de publication:Conference Paper
Source:Gerpisa colloquium, Berlin (2010)
Mots-clés:crise, politique publique
The economic crisis that started with the bankruptcy of the investment bank Lehman Brothers in August 2008 impressively proved that the world car industry and the automobile markets are moving into two different directions.
While in the established and mature automobile markets of the triad of North America, Europe and Japan sales of cars literally collapsed and slumped to a level of the 1970s, the developing markets, first and foremost of China, India and also Brazil were, if at all, only temporarily affected by the crisis and continued or even accelerated to grow. For example in China a simple reduction of the purchasing tax on cars with less than 1.6 liters engine displacement by 50% together with an incentive program intended to stimulate demand for cars in rural areas not only helped overcoming a slight decrease of car sales at the end of 2008 and beginning of 2009, but spurred domestic production to an extent that China in 2009 became the largest car producing country in the world with over 12 million manufactured vehicles.
With respect to the world automobile markets, it is therefore undoubtedly appropriate to say that ‘balance of power’ is shifting away from the triad markets towards these new developing markets. As a matter of fact, without the strong growth in theses developing countries the situation for many established car producers in the USA, Japan and to some lesser extent also Europe would have been much, much worse than it had been anyway.
With regard to Japan and the Japanese auto manufacturers, it is certainly not exaggerated to state that the Japanese car industry has been the second major loser of the crisis only next to the American industry.
The paper wishes, first, to analyze the influence of the financial and economic crisis on the Japanese automobile industry. Secondly, it intends to investigate the political reactions with respect to their intended ecological effects and their impact on the Japanese manufacturers as well as the import market. In its first part, the paper will first briefly discuss the specific differences of the current financial crisis in comparison with the crisis after the burst of the bubble economy in the 1990s. In a second part then, the impact of the financial crisis on the Japanese automobile market, industry and the manufacturers will be explained in more detail, before we will turn our attention in the last part to the government incentive programs and their effects on the car market. A short conclusion will finally summarize the main points again and add some thoughts with regard to the underlying question of the paper, whether Japan is really moving towards a low-carbon society in the automobile sector.