Nov. 07 - Japan's automakers demand tax cuts to save jobs and stop hollowing-out of manufacturing. Arnold Gay reports.
Japan's automakers are demanding an end to various vehicle taxes, which they say are costing jobs and hollowing out manufacturing. Standing before what they say are four million signatures, the heads of Toyota, Nissan and Honda, along with union and dealer representatives say they want to keep jobs in Japan, but face taxes estimated to be as much as triple those in Europe, and a massive 49 times the U.S. Nissan chief operating officer Toshiyuki Shiga says jobs that leave often don't come back, but a cut in taxes could add over 900,000 each year in sales. (SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) NISSAN CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER TOSHIYUKI SHIGA SAYING: "If the industry goes out of Japan, it is not easy to come back. The reduction of the car taxes will create demand for 90,000 cars domestically, leaves production in Japan, and will protect jobs." Carmakers say Japanese owners pay more in taxes, than the cost of the car. Annual car sales in the country hover at over 4 million, down from nearly 8 million in 1990. Europe's debt crisis has also dampened overseas sales. Japan's carmakers add lower taxes would mitigate the impact of the strong yen, which eats away at the value of overseas sales. Toyota president Akio Toyoda had a grim message about the yen. (SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) TOYOTA PRESIDENT AKIO TOYODA SAYING: "If the current strong yen continues, the industries in Japan may collapse, it's not just about de-industrialization." The manufacturers are also asking for an extension of tax breaks on green cars, which will keep sales of hybrids and electric vehicles going. These subsidies are due to expire at the year's end. Arnold Gay, Reuters.