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Nobodys Perfect - 2003 Recalls In Japan Reach Record High

NEW YORK December 3, 2003; Dow Jones reportes that the number of vehicles subject to recalls by automakers in Japan has already set a yearly high in the first eight months of this fiscal year, Kyodo news service reported Wednesday, citing government data.

In the April-November period, automakers filed with the Land, Infrastructure and Transport Ministry to recall a total of 3,426,072 vehicles, surpassing the previous record of 3,290,877 units set in fiscal 2001 which ended March 31, 2002, Kyodo reported.

In October, Nissan Motor Co. told the ministry it would recall some 1.02 million vehicles in 25 models, the second-largest number for a one-time recall since the government introduced the recall system in 1969.

Among other major recalls, Toyota Motor Corp. said in May it would call back some 720,000 units in nine models for free repairs.

The number of recalls has increased noticeably so far this fiscal year due to the use of common parts in many models, an official at the ministry's recall office told Kyodo, adding that automakers have become "positive on recall reports."

The agency's article noted that the ministry introduced tougher penalties on violators of the recall system, including a maximum fine of Y200 million, following the 2000 revelation of Mitsubishi Motors Corp.'s cover-up of customer complaints about vehicle defects.

The number of vehicles subjected to recalls for free repairs topped 3 million for the first time in fiscal 2001.

The largest-ever recall in Japan was made by Nissan in 1996, when it filed with the ministry to recall 1.05 million vehicles, according to Kyodo.