Japan is planning to ban new sales of solely internal combustion engine (ICE) powered passenger cars by the 'mid-2030s' according to a Nikkei report.

The report said that Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry is considering a ban on new sales of conventional cars, those powered solely by internal combustion engines, and shifting to hybrid cars and electric cars from the mid-2030s.

The target would be part of a more broader goal for Japan to become a zero-emissions society by 2050.

The report said that Japan will announce the policy after hosting a conference to discuss the subject later this month - at which car industry executives will participate. After that, work starts on the measures needed for the transition to more hybrid and electric vehicles.

The Nikkei report noted that Japan currently is obligating carmakers to improve efficiency by 30% by the end of fiscal 2030. However, the government now appears to believe a more stringent step is necessary if the country is to meet its zero-emissions goal, the report adds.

The UK government recently announced it would bring forward the date from a ban on solely ICE-powered new car and van sales to 2030 and many governments around the world are considering similar moves in order to meet overall carbon targets and improve air quality.

A nuance in Japan's case is the already high market penetration of hybrids - led by Toyota - suggesting that any measures it introduces will protect hybrids.