In 1949, the GHQ Occupation authorities allowed Japanese automobile companies to begin producing cars. But the level of price and performance of domestic cars was inferior to that of industrially advanced nations. Consequently, common opinion in the auto-related business circles was that the Japanese automotive industry was inferior.
The regulation of car imports was relaxed in 1952, and many foreign-made cars were imported. Car imports became the source of conflict for the Ministry of Transport, Ministry of International Trade and Industry, and automobile companies. The Ministry of Transport did not oppose automobile manufacture in Japan but objected to the protective policy that regulated car imports.
The primary reason for importing cars was to promote smooth and efficient transportation. Taxi companies were the main users of cars at the time, and they opposed the protective policy as the price and performance of cars influenced their profit and reputation. They appealed to the National Diet in support of car imports, and their views were publicized through magazines and other means.
Opposition to the protective policy was resolved in 1954. The foreign currency shortage in 1953 and 1954 prompted public opinion to favor restriction of car imports. In addition, the price of domestic cars dropped and performance improved. Under these circumstances, the Ministry of Transport changed its policy by proposing the import of normal-size cars not widely manufactured in Japan, and thus the debate over car imports was concluded.