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Arrests and Indictments

May 27, 2004. We have learnt from that three former MMC execs including Takashi Usami were charged with violating Japanese transportation laws by falsifying data. Two ther including Hiroshi Murakawa were charged with professional negligence resulting in death. Two other arrested earlier were not charged because of lack of evidence.

May 6, 2004. Japan. Mainichi Daily News reported that seven former Mitsubishi Fuso (earlier part of Mitsubishi Motors), including Takashi Usami and Akio Hanawa were arrested. Five of them, including Takashi Usami and Akio Hanawa, were arrested for false reporting. Th other two, including the former head of quality control have been charged with professional negligence.

A press conference was held by Mitsubishi and MMC's new chairman Yoichiro Okazaki apologized for the 2002 accident. However, Michio Hori, chairman of Mitsubishi Fuso, said that he didn't think that the company and its executives intentionally lied about the accident. He attributed this incident to lack of communication and poor decision-making.

Names of arrested Mitsubishi execs [source Bloomberg] - Takashi Usami - former chairman of Mitsubishi Fuso, Akio Hanawa - former Managing Director, Tadashi Koshikawa, Susumu Mochizuki - ex- Mitsubishi Motors director (product quality), Akira Kakinuma - ex-MMC director (product quality), Hiroshi Murakawa - Chief Engineer, Hirotoshi Miki - Head of product quality

The first five, suspected of violating Japan's Road Trucking Vehicle Law by making false statements, if convicted could face imprisonment of up to one year or a fine of up to 3 million yens each. The last two are suspected of professional negligence resulting in death, punishable by up to five years in prison or a maximum fine of 500,000 yens each. [Herald Sun]

The previous day police spokesperson also informed public of a raid on the headquarters of Mitsubishi Motors and Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corp to search for certain documents but details were not provided. Mitsubishi Fuso had no comments.

It is believed by the authorities that while MMC continued claiming that hub failure that claimed the live of Shiho Okamoto and injured her two sons, and many other accidents, was caused by 'abrasions' and poor maintenance, it knew that faulty hub design was to blame. Mainichi Shimbun further reported Shiho Okamoto's mother as saying that "MMC carried out no safety measures. My daughter would have been have still alive if Mitsubishi had begun its invstigation [of tires coming off] earlier. Mitsubishi murdered my child."

April 30, 2004. Tokyo. reported that Takashi Usami, former chairman of Mitsubishi Fuso, and Akio Hanawa, a former managing director at Mitsubishi Motors would be charged for cover-up of hub design fault after the Golden Week holidays. Usami was a VP at Mitsubishi Motors overseeing the bus and truck division, while Hanawa was the leader of the team investigating the accident that killed Shiho Okamoto.

A few links in reverse chronological order.

MMC and Mitsubishi Fuso Apologies
Criticism of MMC by Governement, victims, lawyers
Fuso Trucks in Danger of Losing ISO 9001 Certification
First reaction to MMMC's Fuso Hub Defect Cover-up Scandal
Fuso Truck Hub and Wheel Defect Cover-up Background