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TOKYO — In a major blow to Mitsubishi Motors Corp.’s hopes for revival, former president Katsuhiko Kawasoe was arrested Thursday on charges related to a cover-up of auto defects suspected in a fatal accident.

Five other Mitsubishi officials, including a former president and vice president at the truck unit, also were arrested, police said.

The arrests come just weeks after several Mitsubishi officials were charged in a separate accident, and are a serious setback to a turnaround plan announced last month after the company’s partner DaimlerChrysler refused to provide fresh infusions of cash.

Mitsubishi Motors’ image has been badly tarnished and sales have fallen since it admitted four years ago it had systematically hidden auto defects and announced a massive recall.

Kawasoe, 67, resigned as president of the company in 2000 to take responsibility for the recall scandal, but denied any knowledge of the cover-up that had been going on for decades at the company.

Police now say Kawasoe and the others failed to follow orders from authorities to report auto defects, dealing only with reported problems dating back to March 1998 and choosing to overlook suspected clutch defects reported in 1996.

Those defects are suspected in an October 2002 accident, in which the driver of a Mitsubishi truck died after he crashed. Only this year did the truck unit acknowledge the defects that could cause clutch covers to crack and lead to brake failure.

Mitsubishi Fuso Truck & Bus Corp., President Wilfried Porth has acknowledged a “corporate culture of concealment,” and has publicly apologized to the mother of a woman killed by a wheel that rolled off a Mitsubishi truck because of a suspected defect. That defect has resulted in belated recalls of thousands of trucks.

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and they just decided to give us ( that's U.S.) a decent car (EVO 8) and then come crashing to the ground. i was never a Mitsu fan, and i am definitely not a Chrysler fan, but it's a little sad in a small way. then in another way, it's rather funny.

Ming said it best, and i quote....

Wow....

Japan's Enron.
well, Mitsu, your Japanese brethren have all survived by offering high quality products and new technology at a reasonable price. too bad you never followed suit. you're not long for this market now....
 
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