PICTURES

Japan PM Abe rides around Tokyo in self-driving vehicles

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe waves during a test drive of Toyota Motor's autonomous vehicle in Tokyo on Saturday, Nov 9, 2013. -- PHOTO: AFP
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe waves during a test drive of Toyota Motor's autonomous vehicle in Tokyo on Saturday, Nov 9, 2013. -- PHOTO: AFP
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe waves to the media as he sits inside Honda Motor's autonomous driving car during an event in Tokyo on Saturday, Nov 9, 2013. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe waves to the media as he sits inside Honda Motor's autonomous driving car during an event in Tokyo on Saturday, Nov 9, 2013. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe waves to the media as he sits inside Toyota Motor Corp's autonomous driving car during an event in Tokyo on Saturday, Nov 9, 2013. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe waves to the media as he sits inside Toyota Motor Corp's autonomous driving car during an event in Tokyo on Saturday, Nov 9, 2013. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (centre) takes part in a test drive of Nissan Motor's autonomous vehicle in Tokyo on Saturday, Nov 9, 2013. -- PHOTO: AFP
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (centre) takes part in a test drive of Nissan Motor's autonomous vehicle in Tokyo on Saturday, Nov 9, 2013. -- PHOTO: AFP
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (centre) waves during a test drive of Toyota Motor's autonomous vehicle in Tokyo on Saturday, Nov 9, 2013. -- PHOTO: AFP
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (centre) waves during a test drive of Toyota Motor's autonomous vehicle in Tokyo on Saturday, Nov 9, 2013. -- PHOTO: AFP
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (centre) waves during a test drive of Nissan Motor's autonomous vehicle in Tokyo on Saturday, Nov 9, 2013. Mr Abe took a ride in several self-driving vehicles on the public roads in the capital on Saturday, sho
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (centre) waves during a test drive of Nissan Motor's autonomous vehicle in Tokyo on Saturday, Nov 9, 2013. Mr Abe took a ride in several self-driving vehicles on the public roads in the capital on Saturday, showcasing the technology ahead of the Tokyo Motor Show. -- PHOTO: AFP

TOKYO (AFP) - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe took a ride in several self-driving vehicles on the public roads in the capital on Saturday, showcasing the technology ahead of the Tokyo Motor Show.

Mr Abe tried auto-piloting vehicles from Toyota, Honda and Nissan on the roads around Japan's National Diet Building, as major international automakers compete with the likes of Google and other tech firms to develop new types of cars with the goal of helping to reduce accidents by eradicating human error.

"I felt with my body that the Japanese technology is the world's best," Mr Abe told reporters after riding the vehicles. It was the first time that auto-piloting vehicles have run on ordinary roads in Japan.

Automakers have previously tested self-driving vehicles on highways that offer better driving conditions, and no pedestrians. The Tokyo Motor Show, slated for later this month, will feature the self-driving technologies, as well as electric vehicles and other models.

Mr Abe has pledged to help advance auto-piloting technology as part of his economic policy, in addition to measures encouraging various technological innovations, investments and to attract foreign talents to work in Japan.