The Japanese government has published plans for subsidies aimed at encouraging sales of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles in Japan.

The plans would see fuel cell vehicle subsidies commence in fiscal 2015 and are part of a longer-term strategy to promote hydrogen-based energy use in Japan.

The industry ministry proposals have yet to determine the size of subsidies, but the timescale is for a budget request for fiscal 2015 (which begins in April 2015), in time for Toyota's planned launch of a fuel cell vehicle in that year.

An industry ministry expert panel has said that it would hope to see the prices of fuel cell vehicles brought down to levels that would compete with price levels of hybrid vehicles (approximately $20,000) by around 2025.

The draft government plans also aim to cut the price for building a hydrogen fuel station by half to around 200 million to 250 million yen by 2020. The plans also call for Japan to have around 100 hydrogen stations in operation by end-March 2016, up from less than 20 now.

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