Mazda Motor Corp. says it has received permission from Japan’s Ministry of Land Infrastructure and Transport to begin testing the Premacy Hydrogen RE Hybrid minivan on public roads.

The minivan incorporates Mazda’s duel-fuel system, which enables the vehicle to run on either hydrogen or gasoline. The system first appeared on the RX-8 Hydrogen RE, which was the world’s first commercially availably hydrogen-powered vehicle in 2006, Mazda says.

The Premacy features a hybrid system that combines an electric motor with Mazda’s rotary engine, boosting power 40% and extending the vehicle’s hydrogen-fuel range to 124 miles (200 km), the auto maker says.

The vehicle also boasts a number of environmental technologies that Mazda says help reduce carbon-dioxide emissions, including plant-derived “Mazda Biotechnical Materials,” which will be used in some plastic components and seat covers.

Mazda will display the Premacy and RX-8 hydrogen-rotary vehicles at the G8 Hokkaido Toyako Summit in July.

“Getting permission from the transportation authorities in Japan to begin public road testing the Premacy Hydrogen RE Hybrid in time for the Hokkaido Toyako Summit is extremely significant, because the eyes of the world will be focused on Japan’s environmental technologies,” says Akihiro Kashiwagi, program manager in charge of hydrogen rotary-engine development.

Mazda says it aims to complete the road trials and begin commercial leasing in Japan during fiscal 2008.