Japan's transport ministry has stopped certifying new vehicles made by the truck-making affiliate of Mitsubishi Motors Corp. following allegations that company officials covered up defects which caused wheels to come loose, killing one woman.

According to The Associated Press (AP), a ministry official said on Wednesday that the decision prevents Mitsubishi Fuso Truck & Bus Corp., partially owned by DaimlerChrysler, from selling vehicles equipped with its newest wheel hubs until their safety is verified.

There have been no reports of defects in the "F-type" hubs, produced since 1994, AP noted, but the ministry decided to confirm their safety after the company in March recalled 112,000 trucks and other large vehicles using earlier hub types with design flaws that caused wheels to fall off, the official reportedly said.

AP noted that seven former Mitsubishi executives were arrested last week on suspicion they falsified a report on an accident in 2002 in which a wheel flew off a truck and killed a woman.

The arrests prompted the ministry to ban both Mitsubishi Motors and its truck affiliate from participating in public bidding to supply government vehicles, the report added.

Associated Press noted that Mitsubishi Fuso was spun off from Mitsubishi Motors in January 2003 and that DaimlerChrysler holds a 65% stake in Mitsubishi Fuso while Mitsubishi Motors has a 20% stake.