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Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Toyota City To Change Name

Following the collapse in sales of Toyota cars in the wake of the economic slump, Toyota City, the hometown of the giant automaker, in Aichi prefecture, near Nagoya in central Japan, is to revert to its former name of Koromo.

City officials stressed the need for a new start as the city has seen increasing job losses and economic woe. 9,000 contract workers have been fired by Toyota and the city had 2,627 job seekers in January this year up 130% from only 1,489 a year ago, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times, making Toyota the most out-of-work town in Japan.

The "Toyota Shock" has lead to a 96% drop in corporate tax collected by the city, which now faces a US$1-billion shortfall this year.

"Enough is enough," said city official Junichi Usobayashi, "We need a new economy in our city from now on, not one exclusively based on automobile production and auto parts manufacture."

"We decided to change the name of the city from Toyota to Koromo to emphasize this new direction we intend to take," he added.

The city also intends to pedestrianize a number of its streets and introduce a charge on vehicles entering the downtown area. A new electrified street car system and extra solar bus routes will be operational by 2012.

Just as Koromo became Toyota City after the 1930s depression, when the area's silk production was wiped out and Kiichiro Toyoda, the godfather of Toyota, turned from loom maker to car maker, so Toyota City will become Koromo again after the demise of the world's largest auto maker.

"We will remake Koromo as a shining example to the rest of Japan." said Usobayashi,
"Solar power, public transport, new clean industries. We will no longer rely on one company, one product for our survival. We owe it to our children to recognise our mistakes and change."

© Japan Visitor

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