MMC coverups prompt ministry

The transport ministry might ask automakers to save data on customer complaints about vehicle defects for more than three years in the wake of multiple defect coverups by Mitsubishi Motors Corp., a senior ministry official said Thursday.

The MMC case has “reconfirmed the importance of past records,” Noriyuki Kazama, vice minister of land, infrastructure and transport, told a news conference.

MMC was unable to fully trace past troubles possibly caused by defects in its vehicles because it keeps records of customer complaints only for three years.

Recall guidelines adopted by the government in 1999 state that information on defects from customers should be kept for a “due period.” This is widely believed to mean three years.

MMC’s data on defects information had been automatically deleted from its computers after three years.