The fact that Norway, the world's 6th largest oil producer is seriously considering banning automobiles run on fossil fuels from 2015, should be a wake up call for Japan.
This sort of pressure is only going to get stronger so as one of the world's primary automobile producing countries, Japan really needs to pay attention. The writing is on the wall.
It also goes to show that even countries with a large stake in the old "dirty" economy need not hold back from striving to become leaders in the new green economy. As usual it takes a combination of legislation, popular/consumer support, and innovation.
In Japan the popular support definitely exists, as does the corporate innovation. All we need now is politicians and bureaucrats who can take the necessary legislative and regulatory steps.