Japan says that it will begin allowing automakers to ditch side mirrors in favor of cameras that allow for a wider viewing angle and can help improve vehicle aerodynamics.

The move would make Japan the first country to specifically allow the technology, which could soon replace conventional mirrors, reports Automotive News.

Camera-based mirrors are already in some vehicles, including certain Cadillacs, where they are useful in compensating for any blind spots like roof pillars. The cameras are also more effective at night and in rain, although some users have reported concerns over how to clean them off if they get dirty from an unpaved road or from wintry grime.

Ditching external mounted mirrors could also make the cars more fuel efficient by cutting through the air easier.

Japanese automotive supplier Ichikoh has created a mirror that, at the flip of a switch, goes between a traditional interior rearview mirror and a digital screen. The mirror is set to go into production soon, but Ichikoh hasn't said just what automaker will first offer its technology. 

Vehicles without side-view mirrors have long been showcased by automakers at auto shows, where they attract attention for both their high-tech features and also the fact that they allow for a more streamlined look. BMW, for instance, showed off a mirrorless i8 at this year's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas and McLaren teamed up with JVC Kenwood for a similar concept. 

Japan, of course, no longer requires so-called "fender mirrors," so this latest announcement marks a significant leap forward for the country.