Japan’s vehicle infrastructure
The number of vehicles in use increased slightly throughout recent years, with the majority of car owners coming from rural areas in Japan. However, the country’s vehicle road system is considered insufficient for the number of vehicles owned. Hence, citizens of metropolitan areas rely heavily on the country’s highly developed public transport network, pushing car ownership rates in urban centers well below the national average.
Japanese roads are known to be comparably safe, with a steadily decreasing number of traffic accidents reported over the past decade. Several factors, such as meticulous traffic regulations, a license point system, high seatbelt usage, and modern vehicles in use ensure responsible driving.
Small cars big sales
In order to better cater to the country’s particular characteristics, such as limited space, an aging society, and an increase in single households, the Japanese automotive industry opted for a niche approach to vehicle manufacturing: minicars, also known as kei cars in Japan. After being introduced into the Japanese automotive market during the late 1940s, light motor vehicles quickly gained popularity. Kei cars are an affordable alternative to regular-sized passenger cars, satisfying the steady demand for maximum convenience in a tiny space. Nowadays, all of the country’s major automotive brands participate in light vehicle manufacturing.
The road to sustainable driving
The most popular car models among consumers in Japan were entirely produced by domestic brands. Toyota’s Prius, best-selling passenger car of 2019 and firm favorite among Japanese car owners, happens to be an electric vehicle. After initially struggling to follow the international shift to e-mobility, Japan is progressively catching up on green vehicle technologies. Facing stricter emission laws and strong competition from foreign automakers, the Japanese government started to work together with domestic car manufacturers to further develop next-generation vehicle technologies and to improve the reach of e-mobility infrastructures.