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Nissan's improper safety inspections continued after revelation

Sources say internal probe contradicts claim that unauthorized checks stopped

TOKYO -- Unauthorized workers continued to inspect Nissan Motor vehicles even after the improper checks were revealed in mid-September, contradicting a company announcement that it had corrected the practice, sources said on Wednesday. 

The scandal prompted a recall of 1.16 million vehicles. Now, the latest revelation cranks up the pressure on the automaker to find the root cause and prevent a repeat.

An internal investigation conducted on Oct. 11 found that two unqualified workers at affiliate Nissan Shatai's Shonan plant in Kanagawa Prefecture, near Tokyo, had continued to inspect steering wheels on finished vehicles. Some 4,000 cars are believed to have been checked this way.

Nissan said safety was not compromised and that it does not intend to reinspect or recall the cars in question. The company has already reported the problem to the transport ministry.

Earlier, Nissan was found to have been using unqualified workers -- called "assistant" inspectors -- to check finished vehicles at all six assembly plants in Japan. The unauthorized personnel used stamps from qualified workers to approve the paperwork.

The practice was revealed in mid-September during an on-site investigation by the transport ministry. Nissan admitted it on Sept. 29, and said it had taken steps to ensure only qualified workers conduct safety checks.

President Hiroto Saikawa told reporters on Oct. 2 that the company would investigate how the practice started and make sure it does not happen again.

Nissan is to file a report on its inspection practices with the ministry later this month, including the latest incident at the Shonan plant.

(Nikkei)

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