Taking the same actions as the US authorities, the Japanese regulators banned certain Takata airbag inflators from future cars.
Automakers will not be allowed to use Takata airbag inflators with ammonium nitrate propellant in future cars, Japan’s transport ministry said in a recent statement. Furthermore, inflators without a moisture-absorbing substance will be phased out from driver-side airbags by 2017 and passenger-side devices by 2018. These directions apply even to models spared from air bags malfunctions and there are similar to actions imposed one month ago by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in the US. Honda, Toyota, Nissan and Ford have already announced they will not fit their cars with airbags filled with ammonium nitrate propellant from this supplier anymore.
“We will make every efforts in our production and distribution of our products to be able to supply replacement parts as soon as possible,” Akiko Watanabe, a Takata spokeswoman, said by phone. The company takes the ministry’s instructions seriously and seeks to restore credibility with automakers, regulators and other stakeholders, she said.
Twelve automakers have recalled 19.2 million vehicles in the US to replace defective inflators after seven deaths and almost 100 injuries were linked to airbag that deployed with too much force and sprayed plastic and metal at vehicle occupants. As many as 48 percent of recalled vehicles in Japan have had airbag inflators replaced as of the end of September, Masato Sahashi, the transport ministry’s director of recall enforcement, said at a press conference in Tokyo.