US auto-giant General Motors has applied for membership of the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA) in an effort to boost its presence in Asia.

The company believes that membership to the Japanese auto group would help it gather information about the country`s taxation and environmental protection policies, as JAMA is closely linked to senior officials in the Japanese government.

One hindrance to GM`s application is that it does not directly manufacture vehicles in Japan. GM does however have major equity stakes in Suzuki, Isuzu and Fuji Heavy Industries, with Suzuki producing vehicles under the GM brand in Japan.

If the application, to be decided by JAMA in late March, is approved, GM will become the first foreign car manufacturer to join the Japanese auto group.