Japan’s biggest auto aftermarket event shoots down our ace reporter’s request for media access.

It’s…it’s 2024, right? The calendar says so anyway, what with us being more than half-way through January and all, but something feels off. It’s almost like there’s some important winter event that’s supposed to have happened, but hasn’t, making us feel frozen in time.

Christmas? No, we’re sure that happened, since it’s one of the few days off we take during the year. Fukubukuro season came and went too, as we’ve spent the last few weeks going through our lucky bag hauls.

So what’s missing? Ah, that’s it! We haven’t had Mr. Sato’s report from the floor of the Tokyo Auto Salon, Japan’s biggest automotive aftermarket show!

Our ace reporter has been attending the annual early-January show in a professional capacity since 2013. In 2021 the Tokyo Auto Salon was cancelled due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, and in 2022 he made the tragic error of mistakenly thinking he could apply for a press pass at the venue on the day of the event, but he was at the show once again in 2023, and was looking forward to making the trip out to the Makuhari Messe convention center and covering it again in 2024.

For those of you wondering what the hold-up is, well, we regret to inform you that you’re going to have to keep waiting, because Mr. Sato was not able to attend this year’s show.

▼ Mr. Sato, seen here in happier days at a previous Tokyo Auto Salon

So did he forget to register for a press pass again? Not at all! While some of Mr. Sato’s innovative ideas may be of…questionable logic, you can’t say the guy doesn’t learn from his mistakes. He made sure to register for a press pass well in advance, putting in his application for the 2024 Auto Salon, which opened on January 12, back in December.

The problem was that the Tokyo Auto Salon rejected his application.

The Tokyo Auto Salon’s reply email to Mr. Sato’s application, pictured above, begins cordially, with:

Mr. Hidenori Sato,

Thank you for your application for a press pass to the 2024 Tokyo Auto Salon.

Unfortunately, what came next was:

After careful examination of your application, we regret to inform you that we are rejecting your application for a media pass. We ask for your understanding in this matter.

With all due respect, Tokyo Auto Salon, no, we don’t understand. In his 15 years of being a reporter, this is actually the first time any organization has directly rejected Mr. Sato’s request for a press pass to cover their event, and the rejection email didn’t include any explanation of why he wasn’t being allowed in as a member of the media.

Now we’ll be the first to admit that Mr. Sato’s coverage wasn’t of the purely automotive focus, but he’s hardly alone in that regard, as the Tokyo Auto Salon’s promotional booth models have long been a significant focus of attention at the show.

▼ Mr. Sato was even invited to a dinner party by the models of Auto Salon presenter Army Girl following the 2018 show, where he got to show off his debonair conversation skills.

So we are sad to inform you that, for 2024, Mr. Sato has no Tokyo Auto Salon report to give, and instead can only ask that you refer to some of his previous ones.






And fear not – Mr. Sato’s spirit isn’t broken, and he’ll be tossing his hat into the press pass ring again next year in hopes of bringing you coverage of the 2025 Tokyo Auto Salon.

Photos ©SoraNews24
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