In Japan, “cars no longer cool”

An Associated Press artice — appearing in today’s Globe and Mail — looks at how Japan’s younger generations are no longer enthralled with the idea of owning and operating their own automobile.

The reasons for this trend, which the article doesn’t really go into with any depth, are varied, but they have a lot to do with Japan’s exceptional public transit environment. In short, in most major Japanese cities, a car is a lifestyle choice, not a transportation necessity.

And given the cost of gasoline, parking, and frequent highway tolls, “owning a car is more trouble than it’s worth.”

That kind of thinking — which automakers here have dubbed “kuruma banare,” or “demotorization” — is a U-turn from earlier generations of Japanese who viewed car ownership as a status symbol. The trend is worrying Japan’s auto executives, who fear the nation’s love affair with the auto may be coming to an end.

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Filed under Commuting, Japan, Transportation

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