Japan Mobility Show Focuses On Value of Travel, Reflects Once-In-Century Transformation of Auto Industry

The Yomiuri Shimbun
SkyDrive Inc.’s flying car is seen at a Japan Mobility Show press preview in Koto Ward, Tokyo, on Wednesday.

The 2023 Japan Mobility Show clearly illustrates the once-in-a-century transformation taking place in the auto industry, as start-ups and companies from other fields comprise a significant portion of this year’s record number of exhibitors. Will Japanese automakers be at the forefront of next-generation mobility, with automobiles at the core?

At the gate to the event, which officially kicked off on Thursday at Tokyo Big Sight, visitors are welcomed by a large screen presenting the futuristic concept that “driving” will become a time to rest.

The person in the video on the screen is not actually driving. Instead, they’re relaxing as their vehicle discharges negative ions into its interior, making them feel like they’re spending time in a tranquil forest.

Major automakers are exhibiting electric and other types of vehicles that are under development, giving them a next-generation feel by doubling their cruising range or featuring automatic driving and other cutting-edge technologies. Subaru Corp., which has an aerospace division, is showcasing a flying car that the company has been developing.

“I’m sure that our exhibits alone will show visitors the difference between the [Tokyo] Motor Show and the [Japan] Mobility Show,” said President and Chief Executive Officer Atsushi Osaki.

This year’s show is the first to use the new name.

When the event was called the Tokyo Motor Show, automobiles took center stage. In contrast, the Japan Mobility Show is focusing on convenience, comfort and entertainment in traveling, turning the event into an opportunity to promote the value of mobility itself.

“I think you’ll feel that the latest edition [of the show] isn’t just about changing the event’s name. We’re grateful that a lot of companies have gathered here,” said Akio Toyoda, chairman of Toyota Motor Corp. and chairman of the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association.