Date: 07/15/2008 12:06 AM
By SHINO YUASA
Associated Press Writer
TOKYO (AP) _ A Japanese court on Tuesday found Mitsubishi Motors and three former executives guilty of falsifying a report to the government in a fatal accident suspected of being linked to a wheel defect.
The Tokyo High Court threw out a lower court decision in December 2006 that acquitted the three people, including Takashi Usami, former chairman of Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corp., the automaker’s truck division at that time.
At the center of the trial was whether the executives tried to hide a wheel defect suspected of being linked to the February 2002 accident. Shiho Okamoto, 29, was killed when a wheel rolled off a Mitsubishi truck and crushed her. Her two children were also injured in the accident.
A court official, speaking on condition of anonymity, citing court policy, said the higher court rejected the December 2006 decision by the Yokohama Summary Court that acquitted the three and the company.
Tuesday’s ruling slapped a 200,000 yen ($1,900) fine on each defendant, the maximum penalty for the charge under Japanese law.
Mitsubishi Motors said it accepted the ruling.
“We will do our utmost to regain consumer trust,” the Tokyo-based automaker said in a statement. The former executives did not immediately comment on the ruling.
Mitsubishi Motors stock dropped in morning trading Tuesday to 182 yen ($1.7), down 1.1 percent.
Copyright 2008 The Associated Press.
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