WikiLeaks says that Toyota’s recall crisis touched a diplomatic nerv

Article by Christian Andrei, on September 6, 2011

According to a leaked file that was posted on WikiLeaks last month, the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo wants Toyota Motor Corp. to “amicably” settle the unwanted acceleration recalls and to make sure that the trade disputes are not rekindled. Officials are concerned about stoking a trade friction.

There had already been a diplomatic tension between the U.S. and Japan even before Congress had interrogated Toyota President Akio Toyoda. In fact, there were thousands of new diplomatic cables dumped online last August.

This leaked file provides a glimpse on how the Toyota crisis hit a diplomatic nerve and how Japanese officials continue to dread the trade fights during the 1980s and ’90s.

The leaked file also reveals that Japan’s then-Transportation Minister Seiji Maehara told U.S. Ambassador John Roos during a meeting on Feb. 10, 2010, that the government is seeking an assurance that Toyota’s issues will not weaken U.S.-Japan relations or lead to trade difficulties. Maehara added that the U.S.-Japan bilateral relationship is the “cornerstone of Japanese international policy.”

Japan’s transportation chief asserted that issuing recalls wasn’t a negative thing, says Autonews. Rather, he believes that it was the responsible choice. The U.S. ambassador stated that the governments shouldn’t allow Toyota to have an impact on bilateral relations.

He said that Toyota has to “stay ahead of the issue.” Critics didn’t like Toyota’s slow initial response to complaints on unintended acceleration. Toyota later issued the recall for millions of cars from late 2009 to 2010 to resolve possible floor mat entrapment and sticky pedals.

Topics: toyota, recall

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