Japan is expected to follow the U.S. and offer subsidies to buyers of hybrid vehicles.

According to reports from the Nikkei newspaper in Japan, the country is considering giving up to $2,991 in subsidies to those that purchase hybrids and other low emission vehicles.  The move by the Japanese government comes as the automotive industry and sales in particular have fallen off sharply.  The government hopes to increase sales through the subsidy.

The Japanese government is expected to complete a stimulus package by mid April that will focus on the environment and energy savings.  This package is expected to include subsidies for purchasing electric, hybrid, diesel, and conventional cars that meet strict emission requirements.

The subsidies would extend to Mini-class vehicles which have engine less than 660 cc and would include a subsidy for those that own cars 13 years or older and upgrade to a new vehicle. 

The subsidies should be available by mid summer and run trough March 2010.

Source:  Reuters