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2ND LD: Mitsubishi Fuso reports 3 fatal accidents June 14-21.

TOKYO, June 23 Kyodo

(EDS: RECASTING THROUGHOUT WITH NEW INFO)

Mitsubishi Fuso Truck & Bus Corp., humbled by multiple vehicle defect coverup incidents, said Wednesday there were six accidents between June 14 and June 21 involving vehicles built by the company and that drivers were killed in three of them.

Mitsubishi Motors Corp., damaged by similar defect coverups, confirmed the same day incidents involving its cars that resulted in injuries to 11 people after combing 56,000 records of vehicle defects retained by its affiliate dealers dating back to March 1986.

The truck and bus builder, an offshoot of Mitsubishi Motors, has been asked by police and the transport ministry to cooperate in investigations into the six accidents. The Tokyo-based company said it is combing the dossiers to determine if they were caused by any vehicle defects.

According to Mitsubishi Fuso, the fatal accidents took place on June 14 in Sakaide, Kagawa Prefecture, June 18 in Hiroshima, Hiroshima Prefecture, and June 21 in Toyohashi, Aichi Prefecture.

The three other nonfatal accidents occurred in Nagano, Ehime and Saga prefectures. The vehicles caught fire in all these cases and no injuries were reported, the company said.

Mitsubishi Fuso also reported only 0.1 percent of trucks have had their faulty clutches fixed after a fatal accident stemming from the defect occurred in Yamaguchi Prefecture in 2002.

The company also said it has replaced only 44 percent of defective wheel-hubs which became the cause of another fatal accident in 2002 in Yokohama.

Commenting on the fact that many defective Mitsubishi vehicles that have yet to be fixed are still on the street, a Mitsubishi official said at a press conference, ''We have not fully fulfilled our social responsibility.''

Mitsubishi Motors said defective springs in the tailgates of its 1992 Libero wagons caused head injuries to 11 people.

The company said the tailgate incidents occurred in the period between 1993 and 2002. Though it knew that one person sustained an injury to his head and had eight stitches in 2002, the company said at a June 2 press conference that there was no such accident.

Mitsubishi Motors apologized for not reporting the incident. A senior Mitsubishi official said the 11 cases were not reported because the transport ministry defines accidents as incidents involving vehicles in motion.

Mitsubishi Motors already has filed 11 recalls that should have been done earlier. It plans to file eight additional cases involving 12,000 vehicles in 10 models next Wednesday.
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Publication:Japan Transportation Scan
Geographic Code:9JAPA
Date:Jun 28, 2004
Words:410
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