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We're not sure how "hydrogen superhighway" translates in Japanese, but it looks like Japan is looking to promote the kind of public-private partnership to accelerate hydrogen-refueling infrastructure that the US government has espoused at various times, Hydrogen Fuel News reports.

Japan will set up a "task force" led by Yuriko Koike, Japan's former environment minister, and supported by the country's Liberal Democratic Party. Toyota, Nissan, Honda and Kawasaki Heavy Industries are all chipping in to try to speed up infrastructure development while helping cut the costs involved in building hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicles (FCEV). All efforts are geared towards having a refueling infrastructure up and running in Japan by 2015.

While Toyota has long been working on a production FCEV, Honda, which leases its FCX Clarity FCEV in limited numbers in the US, recently made news by agreeing to partner with General Motors on the co-development of a future fuel-cell system by the end of the decade. Meanwhile, Nissan, which is far better known for its work on battery-electric powertrain technology, said it would work with Ford and Mercedes-Benz parent Daimler on their own fuel-cell technology. The Japan Times reported in May that 13 companies, including JX Nippon Oil & Energy Corp. as well as the major automakers, were working on developing about 100 hydrogen refueling stations in various cities throughout Japan.

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