Japan extends eco sops to fight recession

Tetsuo Saito

Environment Minister Tetsuo Saito said he had asked Finance Minister Kaoru Yosano to agree to his proposal to extend the fiscal 2009 deadline. Yosano did not answer immediately, said Saito. Economy, Trade & Industry Minister Toshihiro Nikai has appealed to car-makers to increase their output of the vehicles, including Toyota Motor Corp.’s Prius gasoline- electric hybrid, in order to meet growing demand from consumers who want to benefit from the discount programme.

Nikai, who acknowledges car-makers have enjoyed increasing orders for their environment-friendly cars, said it is feared that consumers will not benefit sufficiently from the subsidy programme. Those who have ordered new vehicles may not receive them before the programme expires at the end of next March.

Eco-point subsidy

Saito also said he had proposed widening the range of products that are subject to the government’s “eco-points”subsidy programme for the purchase of energy-efficient home appliances.

Under the programme, which is effective through March, the government offers the eco-points to the buyers of designated air conditioners, refrigerators and televisions, enabling them to exchange their accumulated points later for other products and services. Saito said he is considering including other appliances such as washing machines, dryers, and lights that use light-emitting diodes in the programme.

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