• Kyodo News

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Noritz Corp., Japan’s leading manufacturer of household water heaters, said Friday it will recall some 440,000 bathtub gas water heaters it has made due to the risk that they may give off fumes or catch fire.

The company said it has tracked 13 such cases since 1996 but there have been no reports of any injuries.

The firm said the products caught fire when gas leaked after cracks formed in the valve regulating the amount of gas, due to age-related deterioration.

The company will start inspecting and repairing six types of products free of charge starting Saturday.

The company said it believes 130,000 such products are currently in actual use.

The products subject to the recall were made between August 1989 and May 1994, the company said.

Some of the products were sold by Hokkaido Gas Co., Saibu Gas Co., Tokyo Gas Co., Toho Gas Co., Osaka Gas Co. and Hitachi Housetec Co., as they were supplied by Noritz under an original equipment manufacturer agreement.

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