Cops reinvestigate MMC accidents

Police are reinvestigating 11 accidents involving trucks and buses manufactured by Mitsubishi Motors Corp. and Mitsubishi Fuso Truck & Bus Corp. in the past decade to determine if they were caused by vehicle defects, investigative sources said Friday.

If the accidents, which resulted in injuries, are found to have been caused by defects covered up by Mitsubishi Fuso, police will review the administrative punishments they imposed on the vehicles’ drivers, they said.

Mitsubishi Fuso, the truck and bus maker spun off from Mitsubishi Motors in 2003, has been embroiled in a spate of defect coverups. Many former officials of Mitsubishi Motors and Mitsubishi Fuso have been arrested on suspicion of professional negligence or of defect coverups in a number of accidents involving Mitsubishi vehicles.

The 11 truck and bus accidents under review occurred in Miyagi, Kanagawa, Gifu, Shizuoka, Osaka, Hyogo, Nara and Ehime prefectures between April 1994 and February 2003, and involved injuries to both drivers and passengers, the sources said.

Separately from these 11, the Metropolitan Police Department has already launched a new investigation into an accident that occurred in January 2003, they said.

Some vehicles involved in the accidents had drive shaft or brake system problems, according to data published by Mitsubishi Fuso.