Mitsubishi Motors Corp. has admitted Tuesday (22/8/00) covering up vehicle recalls for more than 30 years - since the recall system was adopted back in 1969 - without reporting them to the Transport Ministry, said Kyodo News/Associated Press citing ministry officials Tuesday (22/8/00).

In a report on Mitsubishi's own internal investigation submitted to the Transport Minister Hajime Morita by Mitsubishi President Katsuhiko Kawasoe, the company said that it had systematically covered up vehicle recalls and repaired defective vehicles without informing the Ministry. The report also laid out plans to prevent a repeat of such a scandal in the future. According to the news agencies, both board members alongside division chiefs were involved in the cover-up.

Officials said that the ministry is considering filing a criminal complaint against Mitsubishi under the Road Vehicles Act, which requires car manufacturers to report defects to their vehicles and repair them without charge.

The news reports also say that during Ministry inspections held about once a year, the auto-maker was found to have consistently concealed about half of its customer complaints received through sales agents.

Starting back in 1977, more than half of the complaints were marked with the letter 'H' meaning "hikoukai" - the Japanese word for "secret" - and were kept away from the authorities.

Mitsubishi also announced Tuesday (22/8/00) an additional recall of a further 88,000 vehicles of 11 models, including both the Lancer and the Galant passenger vehicles.

This latest announcement follows the recall of 532,000 vehicles last month, including 1,464 Pajeros to undergo brake repairs.