"We support that it will be allowed," Yoshi Inaba, Toyota Motor North America president told Autonews during the Automotive News World Congress. As expected, Toyota's support was welcomed by the American automotive industry.
Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., called Inaba's brief statement a positive sign and even went on and gave the Japanese government a piece of advice: "The Japanese government should listen to him. From a public relations perspective, it's very poor judgment on their part.”
Currently, the US and Japan are engaged in negotiations regarding the entry of the American cars in the Japanese program. Stabenow is behind a piece of legislation introduced last week which will allow the US to file a lawsuit against Japan, on account of World Trade Organization rules violation.
“Our position remains that changes are necessary to give US vehicles greater opportunity to qualify under Japan's program,” a U.S. Trade Representative spokeswoman said today. “We hope to find a way forward through these discussions.”
Japan on the other hand holds its ground and says the program is fair. “We believe our program is fair and nondiscriminatory and not in violation of WTO rules. Our program is designed to exclude no one,” Satoshi Miura, Japanese Embassy in Washington told Autonews.
The apple of discord between the two nations is the fact that none of the US vehicles qualify for the program because they haven't been tested for compliance with Japan's 2010 fuel-economy standards.