Confederation of Japan Automobile Workers Unions (JAW), an industrial labour organization comprising 770,000 workers employed in the automobile industry, conducted a signature-collecting campaign from September 5 to November 2, 2011, aimed at changing the automobile tax system. The campaign, carried out jointly with the Automobile Tax System Reform Forum, which comprises 21 automobile-related organizations, gathered 4,364,799 signatures during the period, thus clarifying the strong desire among automobile users to simplify and lighten automobile-related taxes in Japan.
At present, the tax system for automobiles, which are a livelihood necessity, is complicated, with nine heavy taxes levied at the stages of acquisition, ownership, and driving. In total, they amount to around eight trillion yen a year. The automobile-related tax burden, especially for acquisition and ownership, is 2.4-49 times heavier in Japan than in the United States and European countries. Clearly the excessive burden on automobile users is obstructing sound domestic sales.
Armed with the 4,364,799 signatures, JAW, together with the Japan Automobile Federation and the Automobile Tax System Reform Forum, called for abolition of the automobile acquisition tax and automobile tonnage tax and drastic revision of the fuel tax. Through lobbying of the government, ruling and opposition parties, and related ministries, a campaign was conducted to ease the heavy burden from the standpoint of automobile users and labour and management.
As a result, since the lobbying and the 4.36 million users who signed their names in the signature-collecting campaign reflect the popular will, the government and ruling Democratic Party of Japan announced a partial reduction of the automobile tonnage tax and a roadmap toward fundamental reform in their fiscal 2012 tax reform outline, as well as such measures as tax cuts and subsidies for eco-cars. Although the campaign was effective in this way, however, the government's response did not go as far as completely scrapping the automobile acquisition tax and automobile tonnage tax.
In view of these circumstances, from now on also JAW will remain strongly aware of the pending crisis in terms of the hollowing of domestic industry and loss of jobs. Deepening solidarity among labour, management, and user representatives, the confederation will continue to call for an easing of the excessive burden by lobbying the government and ruling and opposition parties and also arousing public opinion through continuous nationwide policy-realization activities.