On behalf of Japan Automobile Federation, I wish to extend New Year's greetings for the year 2013. I also would like to thank our members and the general public for their exceptional support for and understanding of our activities in the past year.
I am happy to report that JAF's membership has been expanding in spite of severe socio-economic conditions in Japan and the rest of the world. We at JAF are determined to strengthen the organization's membership base and further improve our operations, while making a contribution to stimulating regional revitalization around the nation through more active use of motor vehicles.
In the area of traffic safety education, we have organized various safety driving seminars while offering information on our Internet homepage to send our message across to a wider segment of the population. This includes a visual capacity test named JAF D-dock and videos that call attention to the danger of driving in the wrong direction on the highway. Also, JAF offers guidance to international motor clubs in collaboration with FIA (Federation Internationale de l'Automobile ) to support the Decade of Action for Road Safety, a campaign advocated by the United Nations to reduce road deaths and injuries around the world with an emphasis on developing countries.
As for road assistance service, JAF is committed to further enhancing its service quality through the application of superior equipment and supplies as well as improved assistance skills of service personnel that incorporate advances in motor vehicle technology. Furthermore, when JAF's service crew at the road assistance scene checks the distressed vehicle, the crew member also inspects the functioning parts to prevent secondary accidents caused by breakdowns, offers short advice to the driver as needed and calls attention to the necessity of auto maintenance.
Further enhancement of membership service is another priority area tackled by JAF as it works to increase the number of partner facilities useful in everyday life. In fact, the number of people using such facilities has been on the rise, thanks in part to "JAF Otoku-Navi," a smart phone app that enables the user to search JAF's partner facilities. JAF has also worked together with local governments in different prefectures to lure tourists to visit the area for motoring holidays and outings so as to play a role in promoting regional development around the country.
As for requests on automobile taxation, some 98% of users said they felt the automobile taxes were a burden while 91% wanted the government to reduce the taxes in a survey conducted by JAF last year. Based on the opinions collected in this survey and from other sources, JAF will continue to engage in aggressive activities to realize a tax system acceptable to auto users.
2013 is a commemorative year for JAF as it celebrates its 50th anniversary since the start of operations in 1963. JAF is determined to make an all-out effort for the development of a sound motorized society. We at JAF look very much forward to your continued support and wish you all the best in the year ahead.
Japan Automobile Federation (JAF)