Japanese transport minister Seiji Maehara is due to visit the US this week to meet his American counterpart with a view to discussing Toyota among other matters.

Media sources in Japan say Maehara will visit Ray LaHood in the wake of the automaker’s recent massive recall programme following accelerator pedal defects.

Maehara will apparently stress the importance of Toyota to the US car industry, including production note the Japanese sources.

The meeting comes shortly after news the US department of transportation announced it would seek a US$16.4m penalty imposed on Toyota.

The manufacturer had failed to report “the dangerous ‘sticky pedal’ defect for at least four months, despite knowing of the potential risk to consumers,” said the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the department’s watchdog

The Japanese automaker is expected to agree to the fine.