Industry minister Masayuki Naoshima said Friday he approved of the recent decision by Toyota Motor Corp. to have its president testify before the U.S. Congress on the carmaker’s global recalls for safety problems.
“I think it’s desirable for the president to go to the United States by himself,” Naoshima, minister of economy, trade and industry, told reporters. “Whether speaking before Congress or at a press conference, (Toyota can better) explain to the U.S. public, clarify its handling of the troubles and regain consumer confidence.”
The carmaker announced Thursday that President Akio Toyoda will testify before a U.S. House of Representatives panel looking into the massive recalls next week, in response to a formal invitation from the panel’s chair.
“We should not make this issue a political matter between the Japanese and U.S. governments,” Naoshima added, denying a return of the bilateral trade dispute over growing Japanese auto exports to the United States decades ago.
He suggested Toyota is a U.S. company as much as it is a Japanese company. It has created some 200,000 jobs in the United States, Naoshima, a former Toyota group employee, added.
As for criticism that Toyota is handling the issue very slowly, taking its time to decide on whether its president would go to the United States, the minister said the recall is connected with very technical matters, and that it appears the maker thought it should have officials with expertise speak before Congress to prevent any additional trouble.
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