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Indifference at the top brought on Takata's lost decade

Founding family ignored budding crisis while automakers kept kid gloves on

TAKESHI SHIRAISHI and AKIHIRO OTA, Nikkei staff writers | Japan

TOKYO -- The Takata air bag saga that has stretched on for more than a decade and driven the Japanese company to the brink of bankruptcy ultimately stems from complacent management and leniency from automakers that sapped any motivation to take decisive action.

Founded in 1933 by Takezo Takada -- grandfather of current Chairman and CEO Shigehisa Takada -- Takata started off in textiles and expanded into autoparts in 1960. Takada developed a two-point seat belt inspired by U.S. research, the first in Japan, which Honda Motor adopted as standard equipment. Takata rode Japan's motorization wave, and its logo came to be known as a symbol of safety.

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