TOKYO — The Japan Automobile Manufacturers Assn. (JAMA) reportedly is inviting foreign vehicle makers to become members.

A revision of the rules became a possibility when last year General Motors Corp. applied for membership of the association. The U.S. automaker, which has been seeking to increase its presence in Asia, holds stakes in Japanese vehicle makers Isuzu Motors Ltd., Suzuki Motor Corp. and Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd., maker of Subaru cars. It also has technical tie-ups with Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co. Ltd.

JAMA previously only admitted automakers that produced cars in Japan, but the group reversed its decision due to the YGM-1, a small car co-developed by GM and Suzuki. Although the car will be produced at a Suzuki plant, it will sport a Chevrolet badge.

The new rules state that a foreign automaker may join the organization if its local subsidiaries include vehicle manufacturing as a component of its business, designs or develops cars for the market and produces vehicles, or assigns production to an affiliate in Japan.

Toyota Chairman and JAMA President Hiroshi Okuda reportedly has pledged to further open up the organization to foreign automakers, part of an effort to erase Japan's reputation of being protectionist of its automotive industry. JAMA's U.S. counterpart, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, began admitting foreign automakers in 1999.