Just an Ordinary Guy Who Loves Cars--New Year's Greetings from Morizo


"Let's all build the future together!" This was Morizo's emphatic appeal to fellow car lovers around the world.

One of the world’s largest custom car events, Tokyo Auto Salon 2024, kicked off on January 12 at Makuhari Messe in Chiba.

Just like last year, Morizo took the stage at the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing (TGR) booth, although this time the scene was a little different.

The on-stage monitor simply read “New Year's Greetings from Morizo.”

There was no TGR logo or the words “press conference,” as might have been expected after last year.

Being Akio’s first Tokyo Auto Salon since stepping down as president of Toyota, the event had a special feel.

Here, we share the full text of his message to fellow car lovers in Japan and abroad.

Energizing Japan with smiles from the Auto Salon

Morizo began by expressing his condolences to those affected by the Noto Peninsula Earthquake that struck on January 1 and the accident at Haneda Airport the following day.

Photo: Noriaki Mitsuhashi/N-RAK PHOTO AGENCY

Good morning. I am Morizo. I look forward to sharing this year, as well, with you.

First, I would like to offer my prayers for those who lost their lives in the massive Noto Peninsula Earthquake and in the airplane accident, as well as express my deepest sympathies to all others affected by those disasters.

On New Year's Day, I watched the first sunrise of the year at Fuji Speedway and cheered during the New Year Ekiden [relay marathon], but the victory celebration was cut short as 2024 began with an enormous earthquake.

At the time of the Great East Japan Earthquake 13 years ago, someone in the affected area said to me: "I hope that regions, companies, and others that have the means will do their best to support Japan for the affected areas."

Today, Japan has 5.5 million people working diligently on the auto industry’s front lines to keep cars on our roads. Together with those 5.5 million colleagues, I, Morizo, will strive to bring smiles back to the faces of the disaster-affected as soon as possible.

Now is the time to give up our conflicts, divisions, disputes, and abuse; rather, we should begin to help each other and say to each other, with a smile, "Thank you.” I believe that this is a time that requires us to show maturity.

Tokyo Auto Salon is a festival at which car lovers can surround themselves with cars and smiles.

The smiles born here will help energize Japan's automotive industry.

I would like to link that energy to the vitality of Japan as a whole again this year.

Today, with that desire, I hope you will allow me to extend my greetings for the new year.

Now, please watch this video.

The roughly 90-second video showed countless smiles from the various places that Morizo visited over the past year. It finished with the words: “Car lovers! Let’s build the future together!”

Morizo resumed his New Year’s greetings with this call to action.