Yamaha Becomes 2nd Vehicle Manufacturer to be Subjected to On-Site Inspection; Govt to Confirm Models’ Compliance with Safety Standards (UPDATE 1)

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry officials enter Yamaha Motor Co.’s headquarters in Iwata, Shizuoka Prefecture, on Wednesday.

The Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry conducted an on-site inspection at Yamaha Motor Co.’s headquarters in Iwata, Shizuoka Prefecture, on Wednesday over falsified applications for model certification.

Model certificates are necessary for the mass production of automobiles and motorcycles.

The ministry launched the on-site inspection under the Road Transport Vehicle Law after confirming that Yamaha and four other vehicle manufacturers — Toyota Motor Corp., Mazda Motor Corp., Honda Motor Co. and Suzuki Motor Corp. — had submitted false performance data.

Yamaha is the second company to be inspected by the ministry following Toyota, which was inspected on Tuesday.

The ministry is expected to also conduct on-site inspections of Mazda, Honda and Suzuki, and will decide by as early as the end of June whether to impose administrative penalties on them and the details of the penalties.

The scale of the improper activities might expand further as 17 vehicle and vehicle equipment manufacturers, including Toyota, are still conducting in-house investigations.

Four officials from the ministry entered Yamaha’s headquarters at around 9:10 a.m. on Wednesday. They were expected to inspect relevant documents and testing procedures to investigate the details of the irregularities and conduct interviews with company officials and executives.

“We take the matter seriously and deeply regret our conduct,” a Yamaha spokesperson said. “We sincerely apologize [to the public] for losing their trust.”

Yamaha had conducted noise level tests on the YZF-R1 model motorcycle, which were being shipped until the fraudulent activities came to light, under engine output conditions that are different from what is stipulated in regulations. The company also falsified the reports on sound pressure tests for the horns of the YZF-R3 and TMAX models. The production of both models have already been stopped.

Yamaha has produced a combined total of about 7,500 units of the three models.

Yamaha said that it had already confirmed through additional tests that the three models do not have any issues regarding driving. However, the ministry will independently confirm the models’ compliance with safety and environmental standards and make the results public.