Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and other Japanese government leaders are making changes in the way they fuel Ministry vehicles. In 2015, all Japanese ministries will begin the transition to fuel cell vehicles, starting with the introduction of a new Toyota Fuel Cell Vehicle (FCV) sedan in a move to speed up the introduction of the vehicles.

By supporting fuel cell vehicles, the Japanese government is taking strides to ensure the rollout of the vehicles is a success. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe revealed plans to provide at least 2 million (US$19,722) in subsidies for every purchase of a fuel cell vehicle. These subsidies will make the vehicles more affordable for companies with fleets of vehicles.

“It’s still difficult to make these cars popular among ordinary consumers, but the subsidy has certain effects on companies interested in promoting themselves as green,” said Tomohide Kazama, Senior Consultant at Nomura Research Institute. “It’s a move to plant a seed for future growth.”

This change may also help Japan shift to hydrogen energy as the country, dependent on imported fossil fuel as an energy source after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, seeks to cut carbon emissions. While much of the hydrogen used in the country now is made from fossil fuel, the government hopes to implement carbon-free production by 2040.

Prime Minister Abe also plans to set up more than 100 hydrogen stations in the country, enabling FCV owners to easily refuel.

“Fuel cell-powered vehicles are revolutionary vehicles that are environmentally friendly, emitting no carbon dioxide,” said Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

In the video below, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe test drives Toyota’s first production hydrogen fuel cell vehicle.

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