Former Toyota chairman Hiroshi Okuda has been named a special adviser on climate change to the Japanese government.

Okuda will advise cabinet member Yasuo Fukuda and take part in a conference on greenhouse gas reduction.

According to the dpa news agency, Okuda's help is needed in particular to help with preparations for the G8 summit that is being held in Japan in July 2008. Climate change is high on the agenda.

Okuda was chairman of Toyota between 1999 and 2006 and is credited with identifying the need for hybrid cars and giving the go-ahead for the development of the Prius. He was president of the company between 1995 and 1999 and president of the Japanese vehicle manufacturers association, JAMA, for a two-year term from 2000.