GM has announced that it will be taking part in a project to demonstrate fuel cell vehicles in Japan. The Japan Hydrogen & Fuel Cell Demonstration Project (JHFC) will be directed by Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI).

GM, other automakers and energy companies will take part in the project, with the goal of better understanding fuel cell technology and how to create a hydrogen infrastructure.

The project also will seek to educate the public about the use of fuel cells, and about hydrogen as a safe and clean fuel. Participants plan to use data generated in the project to support the establishment of standards and regulations pertaining to fuel cells and hydrogen.

“Japan is a very important market for fuel cell vehicles,” said Larry Burns, GM Vice President of Research and Development and Planning. “GM is making great progress in the development of fuel cell vehicles and we’re very happy that the Japanese government, like other governments in Europe and the U. S., is taking a leadership role in this area. A hydrogen infrastructure could come about sooner through automakers, energy companies and governments working together in projects like JHFC.”

GM will bring its latest fuel cell vehicle, the Opel Zafira-based “HydroGen3”, to Japan to take part in the demo program.

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Last week Nihon Keizai Shimbun (Nikkei) reported that GM plans to test a fuel cell car in Japan by the end of this year and mass-produce such cars starting in 2008. Japan is seen as a major market for fuel cell powered vehicles.