November 21, 2017 / 5:44 AM / in 24 days

Japan transport ministry sets up task force on final vehicle checks

TOKYO, Nov 21 (Reuters) - Japan’s transport ministry has set up a task force to examine the final inspection process for vehicles sold in the domestic market, after the discovery of improper procedures at Nissan Motor Co and Subaru Corp .

Recent revelations that the two automakers had failed to comply with final inspection procedures for decades, with inspectors without proper certification signing off on checks, have resulted in major vehicle recalls in Japan and raised questions on the efficacy of the inspection process.

“We want to ensure more traceability and transparency in the final vehicle inspection process,” Kenichi Hayashi, deputy director of the ministry’s type approval and recall division, said on Tuesday.

The eight-member task force, which will include officials from the ministry and Japan’s automobile research institute along with university researchers, will look at how inspections are carried out by each automaker and how the ministry audits plants to insure proper procedures are being followed.

Last month, Nissan issued a recall for 1.2 million vehicles in Japan after discovering that uncertified inspectors had been signing off on vehicle checks at most of its plants in Japan for decades. It has blamed a lack of trained staff for the issue, and has said it would increase the number of inspectors as part of a plan to improve compliance.

Subaru has said that for over 30 years, final inspections of new vehicles at its main Gunma complex north of Tokyo were sometimes done by inspectors who were not listed as certified technicians. It plans to recall around 400,000 vehicles in Japan this month. (Reporting by Naomi Tajitsu; Editing by Himani Sarkar)

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