Electric-powered vehicles accounted for just 0.6 percent of total vehicle sales in Japan in 2012, but the government wants to increase that figure to between 15 and 20 percent by 2020.
Toyota, Japan's biggest carmaker, and rivals Nissan Motor Co , Honda Motor Co and Mitsubishi Motors Corp said they want to increase the number of chargers by 12,000 from just under 5,000 now.
The government has set aside 100.5 billion yen ($1.02 billion) to increase the number of electric car chargers. The carmakers said they would pay for the costs not covered by the subsidy programme, but declined to specify the amount.
Toyota makes the Prius plug-in hybrid and Nissan manufactures the Leaf, currently the world's best selling electric vehicle.
Honda builds the Accord plug-in and Mitsubishi makes the i-MiEV electric vehicle and the Outlander SUV plug-in.