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Shigehisa Takada, the third-generation head of Takata Corp., shows little sense of the crisis engulfing the Japanese air bag maker at the center of one of the auto industry’s biggest safety recalls, according to three people who have met him recently.

Just days before a Nov. 21 U.S. congressional hearing on defective Takata air bags that have been linked to at least five deaths, Takada told business associates he was personally dealing with the quality issues, and his company had identified and fixed the main cause of the defect — which he said was mainly a flawed manufacturing process, the people said.

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