Year 2000 Scandal

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Year 2000 Various Defects Cover-up Scandal

Mr. Katsuhiko Kawasoe, former president of MMC, who was earlier arrested this month for his connection was a fatal accident, was head of Mitsubishi Motors, when the scandal erupted in July of 2000. He had arrived at MMC to clean up the company's act after 1997's sokaiya, or corporate racketeers scandal, but obviously that didn't happen. Many complaints that should have been reported to the authorities, were kept hidden.

Only an anonymous telephone tip by a company insider, helped government officials to uncover tens of thousands of complaints hidden in the company's employee locker room in Tokyo.

Hiding Complaints

According to Financial Times, moreover, Mitsubishi was keeping two books and the complaints handed out to the transport ministry were altered versions. Half the complaints were deleted from the computer before the officials could lay their hands on. The complaints were internally divided up into two groups and the group labelled "H" was not shown to the authorities. Hitoku (concealment) and Horyu (deferment) are Japanese words that start with "H."

Moreover, in August MMC submitted complaints dating back to March 1998 claiming that it didn't have access to older data. In fact, it stored data of December 1993 and later.

Culture of Concealment

Wilfried Porth, president of Mitsubishi Fuso, said that the past management harboured a "corporate culture of concealment". For example, Mainichi Shimbun wrote about "10-minute response" in which secret documents could be hidden in 10 minutes once the government officials arrived. Similarly, phone lines to sales offices were cut within 10 minutes. Inspector waited outside the quality guarantee department while hiding of complaints went on.