Unlike British local authorities, whose plans to tax high-CO2 car drivers by charging them more for registering vehicles and parking them are facing a growing backlash, the city of Tokyo plans to exempt taxes on next-generation 'green' vehicles such as electric cars and plug-in hybrids once they go on sale.

Japanese automakers are aiming to launch electric cars this year despite the global slowdown that has battered the auto industry, Agence France-Presse (AFP) noted. Mitsubishi's I MiEV will be one of the first to market.

Toyota is due soon to launch a plug-in version of its redesigned hybrid which can run for longer on electric power only.

The Tokyo metropolitan government plans to exempt taxes on purchases and maintenance of the super-low emission cars from the next fiscal year starting in April, local official Motofumi Kojima told AFP.

"We plan to submit a budget plan for tax exemption worth a total of about JPY160m which is equivalent to tax exemption for 300 next-generation vehicles," Kojima said.

The plan still needs approval by the metropolitan assembly, which convenes next month, he said.

The central government already exempts tax on the current generation of hybrid cars, which have become major hits overseas for Japanese automakers.