crime

Takata pleads guilty in air bag scandal, agrees to pay $1 bil in U.S.

46 Comments
By TOM KRISHER and ED WHITE

The requested article has expired, and is no longer available. Any related articles, and user comments are shown below.

© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

46 Comments
Login to comment

So who is going to go to trial and then spend some time in an American prison? I wonder if Takata is having them draw straws!

On a side note, the victims cut should be larger and the fine too small!

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Who gets the criminal fine?

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

The usual apologists will be on soon to claim it's an American-led persecution and Takada is an upstanding company that has done nothing wrong, eventually resorting to, "Well, so what if 14 people died. How many were saved, and now how many will die as a result of this?" crap. Shut the company down and put its heads in prison. They covered up info and people world-wide were killed so they could save a bit of money.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

News back here are speculating the company will fold.

They covered up info and people world-wide were killed so they could save a bit of money.

Not a bit of money, a LOT of money. Production was moved from plants in the US to Mexico (NAFTA). The plant exploded in 2006. It seems that some management and workers at the Mexican plant didn't take their jobs and responsibility to seriously, reworking defective parts on the manufacturing line.

Guillermo Apud, a supervisor at the plant, scolded other employees about this problem in a May 2011 email reviewed by Reuters. “Rework on the line is PROHIBITED!!!!” he said. “We can't have leaders/materials people/operators REWORKING material left and right without ANY control, this is why we have defect upon defect,” his email, translated from Spanish, said. "We need to change NOW!"

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Japan should be careful to make new business with the United States. Abe is trying to push a new deal for connect east texas cities using next generation MAGLEV technology. It is not difficult to imagine in case of maintenance failure and accidents the Japanese government will be responsible to pay trillions of dollars in fines.

Remenber what happened to Rockefeller Center and more recently with Toshiba !

-8 ( +2 / -10 )

Yes... Japan needs to be careful... you see things are not as lax in foreign countries. In foreign countries, if you kill people due to negligence, they will fine you and bring you to court. And in foreign countries... I can't believe it, but, they believe human life is extremely important and has a high value. Japan's "KamiKaze" approach doesn't fly in some countries. Maybe Toyota, Nissan, and Honda should pull out of the USA too... just to be safe... you know.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

Remenber what happened to Rockefeller Center and more recently with Toshiba !

I'm guessing you are referring to Mitsubishi buying Rockefeller Center in 1989 and Toshiba buying Westinghouse's nuclear business in 2006. Both turned out to be really bad business decisions. The real estate market collapsed and Fukushima happened. Who else is to blame but the Japanese corporate executives who made those investments? In this case, Takata is making a practical business decision and willing to pay the fine because they can't afford the abandon the US auto market.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Takata's airbags did save a lot of lives, but are they the only airbag maker in the world? 14 deaths is a LOT.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

So many new Japanese cars are still using Takata air bags.

How come?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

SaikoPhysco, Yes... Japan needs to be careful... you see things are not as lax in foreign countries. In foreign countries, if you kill people due to negligence, they will fine you and bring you to court. And in foreign countries... I can't believe it, but, they believe human life is extremely important and has a high value. Japan's "KamiKaze" approach doesn't fly in some countries. Maybe Toyota, Nissan, and Honda should pull out of the USA too... just to be safe... you know.

United States rewrite the rules according to your interests, definitely is not a reliable country to do business.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

United States rewrite the rules according to your interests, definitely is not a reliable country to do business.

I think you are talking about your country (Japan) where the laws on doing business here are so shady and complex only large Japanese corporations have the resources to get around all the political red tape to make any kind of profit and grow a business.

definitely is not a reliable country to do business.

America has the same rules for all countries doing business with her, unlike Japan.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

yakyakç America has the same rules for all countries doing business with her, unlike Japan.

I know very well the tricks your government makes against Japan.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

It's strange that they have had just as many recalls and a few deaths and injuries in Japan from these airbags, but there has been no action taken against Takata in Japan.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Takata is guilty as sin in this one. They knowingly continued to place on the market a product for which testing demonstrated a risk of serious injury or death. I think the judge made the right decision, "While Takata’s destruction “would probably be a fair outcome,” it wouldn’t help victims get paid, U.S. District Judge George Caram Steeh said in accepting the deal negotiated with the U.S. Justice Department.". He is correct. This coupled with proper oversight of their product may eventually lead to their downfall but at least the victims or victims' families have a chance of restitution.

@Yakyak - I have to disagree with your statement. I have been running a business here nearly 20 years which has grown and been profitable. Having run a business in the U.S. I also belive the U.S. is also a reliable country to do business as well, contrary to what Udondashi says.

Japan is quite lax in the enforcement of Environmental, Health, and Safety laws relative to some other countries. Fukushima Daichi was a good example of this.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Should have fined those crooks and murders more!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

A mere drop in the bucket for Takata I presume.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Some people will make a pot of money when TAKATA is sold and that was one of the reasons why TAKATA was the target of the Obama administration, TAKATA had dominated air bag market. This was not a technical problem, it was a political decision!

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

@Udondashi. The combustion rate of ammonium nitrate is not political and regardless of one's political slant this will not change. The statement below sounds very much like a technical problem to me.

Takata’s inflators use ammonium nitrate to create a small explosion that inflates air bags in a crash. But when exposed to prolonged high temperatures and humidity, the chemical can deteriorate and burn too fast. That can blow apart a metal canister.

Also Takata officials admitted to falsifying test reports. I am having trouble understanding how that relates to politics.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Udondashi: the US didn't for Takata to illegally hide the data and then later refuse to turn it over. Stop blaming everything but the problem -- Takata.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Good. That's what happens when you hide / falsify data and your products KILL people. Hope Takata burns.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

@Tokyo-Engr FEB. 28, 2017 - 10:54AM JST

The combustion rate of ammonium nitrate is not political and regardless of one's political slant this will not change. The statement below sounds very much like a technical problem to me.

While that is true, I think Udondashi's suggestion is that if Takata was an American company, they would have been allowed to settle quietly out of court or their initial reports taken more at face value rather than being investigated until they are forced to admit they are fake or dragged to criminal court.

Now, certainly there is a degree of discretion permissible for both investigation and the final decision to prosecute, so it is really hard to completely refute the possibility.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Tokyo-Engr The combustion rate of ammonium nitrate is not political and regardless of one's political slant this will not change. The statement below sounds very much like a technical problem to me. Takata’s inflators use ammonium nitrate to create a small explosion that inflates air bags in a crash. But when exposed to prolonged high temperatures and humidity, the chemical can deteriorate and burn too fast. That can blow apart a metal canister. Also Takata officials admitted to falsifying test reports. I am having trouble understanding how that relates to politics.

The TRW also have problems on the US court but only TAKATA was persecuted by the administration obama, Why?

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Udondashi: Who asked Takata to falsify reports and hide data? Obama? The US in general? The rest of the world? The sprites of those Takada killed?

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

There is no price for human life

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

smithinjapan, Who asked Takata to falsify reports and hide data? Obama? The US in general? The rest of the world? The sprites of those Takada killed?

Honestly, don't you think it's strange that all these problems happen only in the United States?

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

@Udondashi - I believe TRW had one accident in their manufacturing plant while manufacturing airbags but I am not aware of deaths due to deployment of the airbag. If you know of any please let me know. TRW was found negligent in the employee's death at their Arizona factory.

On the other hand there are 11 document deaths due to the faulty product in the U.S. and Takata was caught falsifying test reports and admitted to this.

I do not believe this is a valid or fair comparison.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Tokyo-Engr, @Udondashi - I believe TRW had one accident in their manufacturing plant while manufacturing airbags but I am not aware of deaths due to deployment of the airbag. If you know of any please let me know. TRW was found negligent in the employee's death at their Arizona factory.

Search in the Google: "" TRW Hit With $3.3M Verdict In Faulty Air Bag Device Suit ""

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@Udondashi - I read the article. Thank you. This was a terrible accident where the airbag did not deploy. The woman won a 3.3 Million dollar suit (rightfully so) after being partially paralyzed and losing a scholarship. It appears the company was also aware of this issue.

Again Takata has been caught and admitted to falsifying data and also there were 16 deaths worldwide, 11 in the United States.

In the end we have a 3.3 million dollar legal settlement where no one was killed (although the lady was tragically injured) and a 1 Billion dollar settlement in a case where 16 people died globally (11 in the U.S.) and a company falsified test data. (By the way 11/16 accidents in the U.S. does not mean this is only happening in the U.S.)

Both companies were aware of this problem. The fine imposed on Takata is 3 times the amount of the lawsuit settlement. I am sure there will be subsequent lawsuits so Takata will have to pay more money.

If TRW also falsified test reports then they should have been punished more severely, however I do not see where this is the case.

In 2015, General Motors was ordered to pay out 594.5 million dollars due to their faulty ignition switches and eventually payed out over 2 billion dollars to deal with this issue. In this case there were 124 deaths related to the switch, however there was no evidence GM knew about or tried to conceal this problem.

I believe the Takata case is about deception and falsified test data.

You indicate Japan should be careful doing business in the U.S. as a result of this. If Japan wishes to extract itself from the U.S. market this would be at great peril to Japan's economy.

By the way, I very much like Japan, I am a long term resident (will likely remain here), and a business owner in Japan (please see my response above refuting one poster's claim that business laws in Japan are shady) so I am not trying to make this a "country vs. country" issue.

As an engineer I am merely disgusted when I see falsification of test reports (such as when TEPCO admitted in 2002 to falsifying test reports related to cracks in reactors).

Whether President Obama was targeting Takata or not, I have no idea. It does not change the facts of this specific case.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Tokyo-EngrFEB. 28, 2017 - 10:20AM JST

Takata is guilty as sin in this one. They knowingly continued to place on the market a product for which testing demonstrated a risk of serious injury or death.

Yeah, I am wondering why it took so long. At last, the US court came to this conclusion. Late justice is no justice.

US regulators let US automakers use Takata airbags, knowing they are not safe. US car drivers continued to drive cars with Takata airbags, knowing they are not safe. They are unbelievable.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Welcome to the world of profits, middle management fears and hovering deregulation. The world Trump swims in. We are a means to an end. Only the U.S.?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

During Clinton, Toyota, Mitsubishi Motors, Daicel, etc. During Obama, almost all big Japanese companies in US. Those cases happened only in US only in Democrat administrations (during Bush Zero)

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

Subaru only recently sent out a recall notice related to faulty Takata airbags - their 'solution' was to disconnect it due to a lack of replacements being available, and tell the passenger to put on their seatbelt (!) and set the seat as far back as possible. Not exactly 'Confidence In Motion' as the company proclaims.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Udondashi: "Honestly, don't you think it's strange that all these problems happen only in the United States?"

Given that deaths have happened elsewhere, no, not at all.

Here's one in Malaysia caused by Takata: http://www.straitstimes.com/asia/se-asia/honda-malaysia-says-takata-airbag-was-ruptured-in-crash-that-killed-driver

Given that, when once again cutting corners, Takata's plant in Mexico blew, no. Given that Takata falsified the data, lied about it when caught, lied about it again, and are now openly admitting to LYING AND FALSIFYING DATA, no, not at all. Given Japan's history of taking the side of corporations and them being allowed internal investigations which always find them innocent, whereas US companies hold others accountable, no, not at all.

Now answer the question posed to you: no one forced Takata to admit they falsified data. They ADMIT to criminal behaviour. It is not the US government doing this, it was Takata. They deserve to be imprisoned and the company shut down. This slap on the wrist is what's ridiculous.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Honestly, don't you think it's strange that all these problems happen only in the United States?

Your statement that these problems happen only in US is flat wrong.

If you would stop to blindly defend Japan and do some research, you would quickly find for example that Japan recalled 7 million more cars with Takata airbags last year following the decision of the Japan’s Transport Ministry to do so. This put back then the total number of recalled cars in Japan at 19.6 million vehicles.

https://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/28/business/international/japan-takata-airbag-recall.html?_r=0

So please explain us how magically can these problems only happen in US?

Or what about this incident where a Takata air bag injured a Honda driver in Japan after blowing up. Is this also happening only in US?

https://www.wsj.com/articles/takata-air-bag-injures-honda-driver-in-japan-1484636834

And you can find reported in many news sites more examples related to incidents involving Takata airbags not only in Japan but also across different other countries.

During Clinton, Toyota, Mitsubishi Motors, Daicel, etc. During Obama, almost all big Japanese companies in US. Those cases happened only in US only in Democrat administrations (during Bush Zero)

Should I remind you that Takata itself pleads guilty that they covered up the air bag problems? I don't think that the Democrats are putting a gun on Takata executives head to force them to do so, are they? They are pleading guilty because they are guilty, period. And the same can be said for all Japanese companies caught in cover-up scandals recently. Pretending indirectly like you do that this is the Democrats that are somehow "anti-Japanese" is just plain silly.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Here is the list of Takata airbag recalls filed at Japanese Ministry of Land and Transportation.

http://www.mlit.go.jp/jidosha/carinf/rcl/recallinfo_001.html

The problem is not limited to the US.

The first recall was filed in June, 2010. Now, it is 2017.

smithinjapanFEB. 28, 2017 - 05:13PM JST

Given that Takata falsified the data, lied about it when caught, lied about it again, and are now openly admitting to LYING AND FALSIFYING DATA, no, not at all.

Who was lied and fooled? Do you think US regulators have been fooled by Takata for these 7 years? I bet they knew the problem at the latest in 2010. Did they exercise their regulatory power for the interest of the people? I am not sure. If not, the regulators are also liable to the victims who died after they knew the problems.

Given Japan's history of taking the side of corporations

In Japan, the regulators are also held responsible in similar cases and the government is ordered by court to pay compensation to the victims. I am not sure if that is the case in the US, too.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Should I remind you that Takata itself pleads guilty that they covered up the air bag problems?

What else choice does he have if threatened criminal charges?

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

CH3CHO: "In Japan, the regulators are also held responsible in similar cases and the government is ordered by court to pay compensation to the victims. I am not sure if that is the case in the US, too."

And? How does this make Takata innocent and it (and Japan) the victim here?

tinawatanabe: "What else choice does he have if threatened criminal charges?"

Because they are criminals, none. If innocent, plead innocent. Instead, they gave PROOF that they lied, and had covered up stats. They didn't make up the proof to please the courts, tina. They are guilty. They themselves have admitted it and feebly tried to explain why. They should STILL be given criminal charges for fudging the numbers and lying, and should count their blessings they are getting off so lightly.

You guys and the "they were forced to give proof and confess" nonsense. They were caught red-handed, and have admitted it. Deal with it. There is no conspiracy save what you guys are trying to create.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

What else choice does he have if threatened criminal charges?

What a dumb question. They have lawyers and if they really believe they are innocent, they have all the rights to defend themselves which they are not doing anymore. Instead they are now pleading guilty because the evidences are just too strong for them to continue saying otherwise.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

If innocent, plead innocent

That's what Takata had been doing. When Mitsubishi Motors and other J companies pleaded guilty, they said similar things "decided to plead guilty to avoid prolonged uncertainty of court battle"

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

decided to plead guilty to avoid prolonged uncertainty of court battle"

Total BS. Any serious company would not take the enormous risk to have its public image possibly indefinitely ruined by a scandal of this kind just because it did not want to prolonge "uncertainties of court battle" while knowing it's innocent.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

just because it did not want to prolonge "uncertainties of court battle" while knowing it's innocent.

it is frightening to think what outcome would be if not pleaded guilty. It is US legal system not Japan's. In Takata's case, it may have been less harsh if pleaded earlier.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Yeah... I'd much rather be "Falsely" accused of a crime in Japan where they can hold you for weeks on end and interrogate you until you confess to something you didn't do. That must be why Takata plead Guilty in the USA... had to be that.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

smithinjapanFEB. 28, 2017 - 06:56AM JST

The usual apologists will be on soon to claim it's an American-led persecution and Takada is an upstanding company that has done nothing wrong...

I feel pity for Takata because of the fact that they are guilty of a pretty terrible crime that resulted in the loss of lives. Does that make me an "apologist"? And BTW, the pity I feel is not for those who were directly responsible for the issues at hand, but for the tens of thousands of Takata executives, employees and their families who had no idea what was happening.

biculturalFEB. 28, 2017 - 11:19AM JST

Good. That's what happens when you hide / falsify data and your products KILL people. Hope Takata burns.

I envy the simple outlook you have on things... did you read my comment above?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

So since Japan knows now that they are guilty and since it is not just in the US, is Japan going to seek also for a kind of sentence or will the company benefit of the so called "corporate total impunity" ?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

tinawatanabe: "In Takata's case, it may have been less harsh if pleaded earlier."

Absolute and utter hogwash. Even if they WERE only pleading guilty to avoid a lengthy court battle (13 years after hiding records), did they make up the falsified data to make themselves guilty, too??? You guys are completely avoiding the FACTS here: that they are guilty of falsifying data and hiding it.

But let me ask you in simpler terms, tina: do you admit they falsified data? They didn't just admit it, they gave PROOF that they did it. Now, explain that.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

The Japanese believe the company and continued employment for its employees is more important than the safety of the public. With that mentality.... not sure I'd want to fly in a Japanese Passenger Jet. I know Boeing will do everything it can to make sure a plane is "air worthy", because the penalties if they skimp on research and testing are so severe.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites