The newly appointed chairman of Japan’s automaker group has voiced concern over prospects for a full-fledged recovery in global auto sales due to economic uncertainties stemming from Europe’s sovereign debt crisis.

”About a month ago, I was a bit optimistic…and was talking about a full-fledged recovery at the end of this fiscal year or the first half of next fiscal year, but honestly (now) I have a slightly cautious view” due to the debt woes, Toshiyuki Shiga, the new chairman of the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA), said at a news conference.

Global car sales have not yet returned to levels before the US financial meltdown occurred in 2008, said Shiga, who is also chief operating officer of Nissan Motor, adding that notable growth has been limited to emerging markets such as China.

Shiga’s appointment as head of the auto body was approved at its general meeting on Thursday, according to Kyodo News.

The association, meanwhile, announced that the Tokyo motor show in 2011 will be held at the Tokyo Big Sight convention hall in Tokyo, switching from Makuhari Messe convention centre in Chiba, Chiba Prefecture.

Shiga said, ”Overseas manufacturers will find it easier to participate if it is held in Tokyo.”

Makuhari Messe has been the venue for the Tokyo show since 1989.

”It’s hard to compete in terms of scale with the Beijing and Shanghai motor shows, but we’d like to make the Tokyo Motor Show an important event by showcasing the technology we have,” Shiga said.

JAMA, which will organise the event for 10 days from 2 December next year, will feature environment-friendly technology, into which Japanese automakers have been putting effort in recent years, as seen in the emergence and popularity of hybrid cars.

Toyota Motor president Akio Toyoda and Honda Motor’s Takanobu Ito took the posts of vice chairmen of the group.