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Japan aims to make all passenger cars electric by 2050: panel report

This undated photo shows a recharging station in Tokyo. (Kyodo)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- The Japanese government is aiming to make all new passenger cars electric, including hybrids and electric vehicles, by 2050, an economy ministry panel said Tuesday, amid intensified competition in the global shift to green cars.

The panel, joined by leaders of major automakers such as Toyota Motor Corp. and Nissan Motor Co., also said in its report a new industry entity will be set up by next March under which automakers will collaborate in the joint procurement of cobalt, an essential resource in manufacturing batteries that power electrified cars.

It is rare for rival automakers to join hands to procure rare metals. The initiative comes at a time when Chinese counterparts are taking the lead in securing the scarce resource.

Competition for developing electrification technology has also been heating up in response to stricter emissions regulations worldwide.

The panel, set up by the ministry in April to discuss ways to spread the use of electric vehicles, also set a target to reduce emissions of greenhouse gas of one passenger vehicle by 90 percent by 2050 compared with the levels in 2010.

"Japan would like to contribute to achieve zero emissions on a global scale by spreading electric vehicles worldwide. That's a goal only Japan, home to the top level of the auto industry, can set," Hiroshige Seko, minister of economy, trade and industry, said during the panel meeting.

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