Japan's land, infrastructure, transport and tourism ministry is considering reviewing the recall system for vehicles with suspected defects, according to sources.
The move is designed to urge carmakers to act quickly to remedy possible flaws in their products, in reaction to the ongoing controversy involving Toyota Motor Corp.'s vehicles, including the brakes on the latest version of its Prius model. Toyota did not report the flaw to the government for a relatively long time.
In an effort to have carmakers take action without delay, the ministry will consider measures to improve the current system, such as increasing the frequency for submitting reports on suspected defects to the ministry and widening problems to be subject to the reporting requirement, according to the sources.
Concerning the brake flaw in the newest Prius model, which came to light early this month, Toyota initially regarded it simply a problem of driver perceptions. Before reporting the problem to the ministry, the carmaker began taking measures to correct the problem on affected vehicles produced on January 28 and after. Under the current rule, carmakers are to only draw up reports on minor design changes in their products on a quarterly basis.
But Toyota eventually announced a recall of the model on February 9, meaning that it was not a minor design change from the viewpoint of those who had purchased the cars.
The ministry takes the Prius case seriously, believing it led to consumer distrust in the country's car safety system, according to the sources.
-The Yomiuri Shimbun/Asia News Network