In many ways the Tokyo show feels just like its done all of the times I’ve been here: a tremendous showcase of the Japanese car industry, letting us look at the new cars, concepts and future tech.

But this time it’s just as much of a case of what isn’t here as what is. You see, with the exception of relative minnows Lotus, Caterham and Alpina, the ‘foreign’ car makers have all stayed away.

Of course, the struggling global economy is partly to blame, but several of us attended the Shanghai show six months, ago where the world’s key car makers were falling over themselves to exhibit.

Many, including Rolls-Royce and Porsche, also launched significant new cars there too. But while you feel the power base is shifting more to mainland Asia, Tokyo and the Japanese car companies still have plenty to offer.

Toyota’s FT-86 concept is proof that excitement is back on the agenda at the world’s richest car maker. Honda’s CR-Z is every bit as interesting in the metal as we’d hoped, too. And all the domestic makers have an interesting concept and a story about ever-greener technologies being employed. Mazda, especially, has made a big commitment to reducing CO2 and had radically improved diesel and petrol engines on show to prove it.

So while the focus for most cars makers is on selling cars to the ever growing number of Chinese in the market for one, let’s not forget that Japan appears to be every bit as innovate as its ever been.

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