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Speech by JAMA Vice-Chairman Takao Suzuki - JAMA Canada Reception

Westin Prince Hotel, Monday, October 23, 2000

Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for the kind introduction. It is my great honour to be present at this reception with Ontario Deputy Minister Barbara Miller and Consul General Hara, as well as many other distinguished guests.

At the same time, it provides an opportunity I’ve long awaited, to speak briefly about the globalization of the automobile industry and JAMA’s overseas activities.

First, I will talk about the advancing globalization of the automobile industry.

When one examines closely recent movements in the world automobile industry, one thing stands out clearly. That is the ongoing spread of international tie-ups and alliances among automakers. And the membership of JAMA is no exception to this trend. In fact, I think the keywords that best express the current trend in the automobile industry is "International Realignment." International realignments seem to be the main factor generating the need for vast investments by the automobile industry for the development of new technologies, such as fuel cells and other projects. I believe that international realignments are propelling the globalization of the industry.

The Japanese automobile industry commenced local production in North America in the mid-1980s. This marked the real beginning of globalization. At present, the industry is carrying out local production in North America, the EU, Asia, and other regions worldwide. Last year, overseas production by Japanese automakers amounted to six-point-five-million (6.5 million) units. I believe that level of overseas production is comparable in scale to production in Japan, which is around 10 million units. As such overseas activities increase, Japanese automakers are working to move ahead with localization everywhere, including the fostering of industry, the creation of jobs, and technology transfer.

As Chairman Nakatani mentioned in his remarks, local production is expanding job opportunities in Canada. Since NAFTA took effect in 1994, Canada has been gaining importance as a production base for the North American market. And Japanese automakers are expected to contribute further to the Canadian economy in the future.

Secondly, I would like to touch on JAMA’s overseas activities.

In view of the ongoing globalization of the automobile industry, JAMA has been increasingly engaged in the key issue of encouraging interchange with the automobile and parts industries of countries around the world. Among JAMA’s international activities, technical standards related to safety and the environment, and the international harmonization of certification will play a great role in benefiting consumers. JAMA is currently participating vigorously in activities leading to the international harmonization of automobile technical standards and certification at important forums such as the OICA and the WP29.

At the same time, regulations and regulatory frameworks are not uniform throughout the world in regard to environmental issues. Here I refer to issues such as reductions of CO2 as a means of addressing global warming, diesel emissions with the objective of reducing particulates, and end-of-life vehicle recycling. It will be important to ensure the international compatibility of such regulations and regulatory frameworks, and I believe that doing so will require a fair amount of interchange between the automobile industries of countries worldwide.

I am aware that the Canadian economy is performing well, and there are signs that the Japanese economy is coming out of a long slowdown and gradually recovering.

In closing, I would like to say that this is an era that requires ever-greater international coordination within the world automobile industry. Centered on the activities of JAMA Canada, we at JAMA look forward to continuing our interchange with the Canadian government and automobile industry. Please accept my best wishes for a mutually beneficial relationship.

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