• Kyodo


Mitsubishi Motors Corp. was aware of details of a 1998 accident involving a defective part in Nara Prefecture when its failure to recall vehicles with defects came to light in 2000 but did not report the case to the government, investigative sources said Saturday.

Investigators suspect former Mitsubishi Motors President Katsuhiko Kawasoe and other executives may have intentionally excluded the 1998 accident to prevent the revelation of defects in its vehicles, the sources said.

Yamaguchi and Kanagawa prefectural police arrested Kawasoe, 67, and five other executives Thursday on charges of professional negligence leading to a fatal accident involving a Mitsubishi truck in Yamaguchi Prefecture in 2002.

Police also found that Kawasoe, who became president of the company in November 1997, introduced a system around summer 1998 to have the quality control department report to him regularly about defects in vehicles.

According to investigations, the clutch housing of a Mitsubishi truck broke as it was traveling on a road in Nara Prefecture in July 1998, and a propeller shaft dropped off from the vehicle.

The propeller shaft, which distributes power from the engine to the wheels, shattered the windshield of a car following behind, leaving the driver with head injuries.

Ghosn vows discipline

SAN FRANCISCO (Kyodo) Nissan Motor Co. President Carlos Ghosn said Friday his company will stick to strict disciplinary measures, including swift dismissals of officials involved in vehicle defect coverups.

Ghosn said a company cannot solve problems and improve its products unless it publicizes quality problems. He emphasized he will reaffirm to Nissan employees that corporate bylaws must be obeyed.