Takata Recalls Force Japanese Ministry to Consider Supplier Regulations

Jan 16, 2015 06:00 PM EST | Matt Mercuro

Japanese Transport Minister Akihiro Ohta announced on Friday that his ministry is considering revising current laws to inspect auto parts companies as a result of the massive Takata Corp recalls.

"Until now, we have been getting reports from automakers but since this is a major issue with great impact I would like to consider whether we need to revise the vehicle law or not," Ohta said to reporters at a regular briefing today, according to Reuters.

More than 24 million vehicles have been called back as a result of Takata-related recalls. Takata air bags can explore with too much force, spraying shrapnel in vehicles, thus putting occupants in danger.

A number of automakers have been affected by the recall, including Honda, Takata's biggest customer. Under current rules, the regulator relies mainly on car companies like Honda to keep track and investigate their parts suppliers. Legal provisions prevent the ministry from investigating the supplier directly, but that could change soon.

Ministry officials have had "daily meetings" in order to deal with developments regarding the air bag recalls, according to Reuters. Ohta said that most critics have complained that Takata has failed to provide enough information regarding the issue to regulators.

A planned legal revision would also make it mandatory for parts suppliers like Takata to report defects to the regulator, according to Nikkei.

Japan recently increased its efforts in order to deal with the air bag issues, setting up a task force to speed up collection of defective air bags.

The faulty devices have been linked to at least four deaths in the U.S. so far and one death in Malaysia. All of the incidents took place in Honda vehicles.

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