Tokyo, Jan. 19 (Jiji Press)–The Japanese government is considering unifying existing regulations on fuel cell vehicles, currently managed by the industry and transport ministries, to promote the environmentally friendly automobiles, Jiji Press learned Wednesday.
The government plans to introduce necessary legislation to the ongoing regular session of the Diet, Japan’s parliament, in early March, aiming to implement the eased rules in December next year, informed sources said.
Currently, fuel cell vehicles using hydrogen as fuel have to undergo regular safety inspections mandated by the road trucking vehicle law and hydrogen tank checks stipulated by the high pressure gas safety law. The safety checks fall within the jurisdiction of the transport ministry and the tank checks within that of the industry ministry.
To lessen owners’ burden of taking the two checks separately, the envisaged legislation will have the safety inspections include hydrogen tank checks, the sources said, adding that the measure is also expected to help automakers cut costs to develop fuel cell vehicles.
The government has hammered out the policy of making all automobiles to be launched in 2035 electric, hybrid or fuel cell vehicles emitting no or little carbon dioxide.
But sales of fuel cell vehicles have been sluggish due chiefly to the burdensome regulations and a dearth of hydrogen-filling stations. In 2020, only 761 units were sold, according to the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association.
To promote those vehicles, which emit only water, the government plans to set up some 1,000 hydro