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To address Japan’s rapidly aging population, Nissan Motor Co. will heighten its production of “lifecare” vehicles, which are specially designed for senior citizens and people with physical disabilities, the firm said Wednesday.

Lifecare vehicle models are equipped with special devices, such as swivel seats for easy access by wheelchair users and lifts for loading wheelchairs and other equipment to help people with physical disabilities drive.

Nissan said that nearly all of the recreational vehicles it will launch this year will include special lifecare models, and it plans to increase the number produced from the current 12 models a year to 20 models a year by the end of March 1999.

To reduce the risk of accidents from driving such vehicles, the automaker will launch a special education course for lifecare vehicle drivers as early as the 1999 business year.

Nissan will also encourage dealers to install automatic doors and ramps, and eliminate level differences in their showrooms when they construct new sales outlets, the company said.

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