Nissan Motor Co. had been conducting its current inspection process for vehicles sold in Japan—deemed faulty by the government last month — since at least 1979, according to a person familiar with the situation.

The finding will be part of a report from an external investigation team commissioned by the carmaker, said the person, who asked not to be identified. Nissan's manufacturing division will likely take responsibility for the incident, the person said. The report will be submitted ahead of the Yokohama-based company's results announcement scheduled for Nov. 8.

"Nissan has commissioned a third party to thoroughly investigate the issue and suggest measures to prevent recurrence," a company spokesman said in a statement. "Details of the investigation will be shared at the appropriate time." The spokesman declined to comment specifically on the time frame.