Nissan, Takata Face Criminal Complaint Over Air Bag in Japan

  • Passenger injured by ruptured Takata air bag files complaint
  • Companies say they’re cooperating with investigation

Nissan Motor Co. and Takata Corp. executives responsible for quality and safety face a criminal complaint in Japan over the rupturing of a defective air bag, the first such case in the companies’ home market.

Police in the eastern Japan city Ito accepted the complaint on May 30 from the female passenger injured by a Takata air bag that ruptured in a Nissan X-Trail sport utility vehicle in October, according to a police spokesman.

Both Nissan and Takata said they were cooperating with the investigation and declined to comment further. Nissan’s shares rose 1.5 percent to 1,078 yen, while Takata gained 2.1 percent to 437 yen. The benchmark Topix index advanced 0.8 percent.

Under Japanese law, after accepting a criminal complaint and conducting an investigation, police decide whether to refer cases to prosecutors to issue an indictment. The complaint marks the first instance of legal action related to defective Takata air bags in Japan. The identity of the complainant has not been made public.

Nissan has said the X-Trail SUV had been recalled but not yet fixed at the time of the rupture incident, which involved the air bag on the passenger side of the vehicle.

Mitsubishi Motors Corp.’s former president Katsuhiko Kawasoe and three other executives were found guilty in 2008 of professional negligence by a court in Japan in connection with a fatal truck accident in October 2002. All four received suspended sentences.

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