Administrator of international exhibitors for the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association, Mr Toyokazu Ishida, described the last minute decision as "unbelievable".
“Hyundai called last week and orally confirmed their intent to cancel,” said Mr Ishida. “It's unbelievable.”
The South Korean manufacturer's exit leaves just two minor foreign manufacturers at the event: German boutique manufacturer Alpina Burkard Bovensiepen and British sports-car maker Lotus. The Detroit 3 (Chrysler, Ford, GM) were among the first to drop out earlier this year.
The Tokyo show, held every two years, was once the premier auto event in Asia. But it is being hit hard as international players sit out to save cash amid the global market slump.
It can cost millions to exhibit, and even some Japanese manufacturers had proposed that this year's event be canceled because of the slumping economy.
Hyundai officials in Seoul could not immediate confirm or comment on their plans for the show. JAMA is still awaiting written confirmation of the decision.
JAMA officials said they did not know why the company was pulling out. Japan's Mainichi newspaper said it was a cost-cutting measure.
The Tokyo International Motor Show will run from October 24 to November 4.