Subject: [cwj 97] New recall scandal at Mitsubishi group
From: Corporate Watch in Japanese <>
Date: Tue, 12 Sep 2000 12:25:20 -0700
Seq: 97

September 12, 2000

New recall scandal at Mitsubishi group

TOKYO, Sept 12 (AFP) - 

Mitsubishi Electric Corp. said Tuesday it was recalling nearly 100,000
televisions in Japan, after confessing that it concealed
complaints about defective sets that could burst into flames. 

In shades of a huge recall scandal damaging group partner Mitsubishi Motors
Corp., the electrical arm came clean to the cover-up
after a report in the Sankei Shimbun newspaper. 

Mitsubishi Electric admitted it had failed to report to the Ministry of
International Trade and Industry (MITI) 66 customer complaints
about the defective CZ-1 and CZ-2 television sets, made from 1987 to 1990.

"This problem of ignition was not something that would happen in many
instances so at the time we judged it was unnecessary to
report this to MITI," said company spokesman Matthew Nicholson. 

"But looking back from the standpoint of cause of injury or cause of
property damage, that was not an appropriate judgement at the
time," he acknowledged.

Electronics makers are obliged to report to MITI serious faults that may
threaten safety, although there is no obligation to recall such

"We changed our judgement on our obligation to report (the faults) after
the report," Mitsubishi Electric director Fumio Ookusa told a
news conference.

The cost of repairing the sets will be around 7,000-10,000 yendollars)
each, he said.

Nicholson declined to comment on whether Mitsubishi Electric would have
continued the cover-up but for the Sankei Shimbun's
revelations Tuesday.

He added that "this affects only TVs for domestic Japanese use, there is
absolutely no effect on overseas operations." 

A total of 50,000 CZ-1 televisions and 49,950 CZ-2s will be either recalled
or repaired by Mitsubishi Electric engineers at customers'
homes, the company said.

It admitted it had failed to report 66 complaints about the sets, which
have screens ranging from 29-37 inches (74-94 centimetres),
including seven in which they emitted smoke or burst into flames.

"There were six cases involving the CZ-1 series and one with the CZ-2
series resulting in flames, but nobody suffered any physical
harm," Nicholson said.

The problems were caused by a build-up of humidity in the TV sets affecting
cooling parts on the circuit board, Mitsubishi Electric

The case bears echoes of the scandal that has swept through Mitsubishi
Motors, which confessed last month to keeping the Transport
Ministry in the dark about 64,000 complaints about vehicle defects since 1977.

That resulted last Friday in the resignation of Mitsubishi Motiors
president Katsuhiko Kawasoe and the company had to agree to cut
the price for DaimlerChrysler AG to take a 34-percent stake in the Japanese

The Mitsubishi Electric spokesman declined to comment on the similarities,
or on the possible damage to the electrical company's

"Mitsubishi Motors is a separate company. I can only speak for Mitusbishi
Electric," Nicholson said.

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