Earlier this month Tesla opened its Japan sales operation with Elon Musk handing over nine keys to the first Model S owners in the country. The event is significant because foreign automakers, especially U.S. ones, sell very few vehicles in Japan. Although the country’s vehicle market officially opened to limited foreign participation in the 1970s, despite extensive automotive trade negotiations between the United States and Japan, the country has effectively remained closed. Nearly 96% of all vehicle sales in the country come from Japanese companies, while the remaining 4% come from German automakers, with a barely visible blip of around 1,000 vehicles coming from GM. This has been frustrating for foreign automakers – but it’s also hindering Japan’s plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) market.