Toyota chief urges Japanese government to back meeting with PM on climate transition


TOKYO, Nov 2 (Reuters) – Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T) Chairman Akio Toyoda raised the issue of tax relief on Wednesday during a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on supporting the industry of mobility as a pillar of the economy in Japan. seeks to reduce carbon emissions.

The couple’s meeting came after Kishida said he wanted to exchange views with auto industry executives on issues such as carbon reduction. In June, Kishida visited a Toyota plant in the automaker’s home prefecture of Aichi in a rare visit.

A key challenge facing Toyota and its main Japanese rivals, Nissan Motor Co (7201.T) and Honda Motor Co (7267.T), is catching up to rivals like Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) which have gained momentum. advance in fully electric vehicles (EVs).

“I think we were able to initiate (a discussion on) Japan’s carbon neutrality and digital transformation efforts, with mobility at the core,” said Toyoda, who leads a committee on mobility-related issues under the powerful Japanese business lobby group Keidanren. to reporters after the meeting.

Toyoda said he discussed tax relief during the meeting with the prime minister, who showed willingness to continue the discussion on support, according to the Toyota executive.

At the end of the meeting, Kishida said the public and private sectors must work together to protect the Japanese economy and jobs from digitalization and push for carbon neutrality.

Toyota, widely seen as a bellwether for Japan Inc and once a darling of environmentalists for its gasoline-electric hybrid Prius model, is facing particularly intense scrutiny from investors and green activists over its stance on electric vehicles.

The Japanese automaker pushed back on criticism, saying that while battery electric vehicles are a powerful weapon in reducing carbon emissions, there are various other options to achieve this goal.

“Right now we are in a period of transition (of decarbonization), so we need to let technological innovation happen in different ways and provide different choices,” Toyoda said.

Reuters reported in June that Toyota Chairman Toyoda, who also heads the Japanese auto lobby group, called on the Japanese government to clarify that it supports hybrid vehicles as much as battery electric vehicles – or risk losing the automotive industry support.

(This story has been corrected to remove redundant words in the 2nd paragraph and to correct grammar in the 6th and 9th paragraphs)

Reporting by Satoshi Sugiyama; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell

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