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A review of guidelines for automobile safety inspections saw a proposal Friday to lengthen the interval between mandatory checkups and scrap inspection items deemed nonessential or obsolete because of technological advances.

Public management minister Toranosuke Katayama made the recommendations to update the inspection checklist to Chikage Ogi, minister of land, infrastructure and transport.

According to a survey of car owners made by the Ministry of Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications, the maintenance ratio — the ratio of cars that required parts to be changed or repaired — is less than 5 percent with respect to 35 items on the 56-item checklist that must be gone through every two years.

None of the cars surveyed required maintenance with respect to eight items on the checklist, including tests on steering wheel handling and fuel leakage, the survey shows.

The public management ministry is calling for a review of the car inspection system as an increasing number of mechanical functions that require regular safety inspection have disappeared from newer, electronically controlled models.

The ministry also proposed streamlining the operation of regional Land Transport Offices following the transfer of their auto inspection functions to independent administrative agencies.

Record-high car woes

The number of car-trouble calls the Japan Automobile Federation responded to with dispatches reached a record high in July due to high temperatures, the JAF said Friday.

There were 290,132 dispatches nationwide, up by 2,463 from July 2000, which sported the previous record also due to heat, it said.

Among the reasons for JAF dispatches, about 25 percent involved batteries dying due to overuse of air conditioners. Another quarter involved people who locked their keys in their cars, a common problem throughout the year.

The number of cases JAF dealt with rose by 0.9 percent over the previous year nationwide, and was up 6.9 percent in Kyushu, 5.4 percent in Shikoku, 4.1 percent in the Chugoku region and 1.2 percent in the Kansai region.

In contrast, cases in Hokkaido, with its unstable weather, dropped by 4 percent, while cases in the Kanto region fell by 1 percent.

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