A lot of bandwidth is wasted in the blogosphere about how closed the Japanese car market supposedly is to foreign imports. Which of course is baloney. Paul Niedermeyer debunked the propaganda, and said: “Want to import cars to Japan? It’s one of the easiest countries to do so.“
In case people have not really gotten it, The Nikkei [sub] has drawn them a picture. It painstakingly lists how many cars were made by Japanese manufacturers at home and abroad. It shows how many cars were exported, and how many were imported.
Sure, fewer cars were imported than exported. What do you expect from a country that manufactured more than 11m cars, but bought only 5m at home? (All data 2008, exact import & export data not yet available for 2009.) There is a huge disparity between U.S. exports to Japan and Japanese exports to the U.S. Between Europe and Japan, the disparity is there, but it’s not so large at all. Japan to Europe: 779,752 units. Europe to Japan: 148,255 units.
Actually, people in Japan are worried: Europe is changing from displacement taxation to CO2 taxation. Says the Nikkei: “If the European method becomes a global standard, even carmakers with advanced environmental technology — such as Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co. — would have to spend a lot on further technological development.”