Toyota supplier raided by FBI as chief tesifies to congress

Submitted by Quest-News-Serv... on Wed, 02/24/2010 - 17:51.

 Akio Toyoda (L), President and CEO of Toyota Motor Corporation, makes his opening statement with Yoshimi Inaba (R), President and COO of Toyota Motor North America.Kevin Lamarque/Reuters Akio Toyoda (L), President and CEO of Toyota Motor Corporation, makes his opening statement with Yoshimi Inaba (R), President and COO of Toyota Motor North America.

Reuters  Published: Wednesday, February 24, 2010

DETROIT -- Toyota Motor Corp supplier Denso Corp said Wednesday that its U.S. office had been raided by FBI agents as part of an investigation into alleged antitrust violations.

Denso spokeswoman Bridgette Gollinger said the investigation was "absolutely not" related to ongoing recalls by Toyota. Denso supplies accelerator pedals and other components to the automaker.

"We are cooperating with the investigation," Ms. Gollinger said.

The FBI raid was first reported by The Wall Street Journal, which said that federal investigators had also searched the Detroit area offices of two other Toyota suppliers, Yazaki and Tokai Rika.

A spokesman for Tokai Rika could not be immediately reached for comment. Yazaki said it would have a statement ready shortly.

The FBI's Detroit office and federal prosecutors did not return calls seeking comment.

News of the investigation came just as Toyota President Akio Toyoda was set to begin closely watched testimony on the automaker's safety crisis before congressional investigators.

© Thomson Reuters 2010

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There's always suicide

Very popular in Japan - "Lawyers and other experts allege that, in some cases, collectors harass debtors to the point they take this route."

I believe that was the plan for Frank Giglio... some of us others, too...

Suicide in Japan is a problem nationally.[1][2] Causes of suicide include unemployment (due to the economic recession in the 1990s), depression, and social pressures. Japan has one of the world's highest suicide rates, especially amongst industrialized nations,[3] and the Japanese government says the rate for 2006 is ninth highest in the world.[4]

In 2009, the number of suicides exceeded 30,000 for the twelfth straight year.[5] Since 2008, the economic situation worsened in Japan due to the global financial crisis, and this has pushed the suicide rate in Japan even higher.

The rapid increase in suicides since the 1990s has raised concerns, with 1998 having a 34.7% increase over the previous year.[1]

Typically most suicides are men, with over 71% of suicides in 2007 being male.[2] The rate among the over-60 population is also high, but people in their thirties are most likely to commit suicide.[2] Suicide is the leading cause of death for people under 30.[6]

The most frequent location for suicides is in Aokigahara, a forested area at the base of Mount Fuji.[7] In the period leading up to 1988, about 30 suicides occurred there every year.[8] In 1999, 74 occurred,[9] the record until 2002 when 78 suicides were found.[10] The area is patrolled by police looking for suicides, and that same year 83 people intending suicide were found and taken into protective custody.[10]

Railroad tracks are also a common place for suicide, and the Chūō Rapid Line is particularly known for a high number.[11]

Methods

Common methods of suicide are jumping in front of trains, leaping off high places, hanging, or overdosing on medication.[1] Rail companies will charge the families of those who commit suicide a fee depending on the severity of disrupted traffic.[11]

A newer method, gaining in popularity partly due to publicity from Internet suicide websites[2], is to use household products to make the poisonous gas hydrogen sulfide. In 2007, only 29 suicides used this gas, but in a span from January to September 2008, 867 suicides resulted from gas poisoning.[12]

Ties with business

Consumer loan companies have much to do with the suicide rate. In fiscal year 2005, 17 consumer loan firms received a combined 4.3 billion yen in suicide policy payouts on 4,908 borrowers -- or some 15 percent of the 32,552 suicides in 2005.[13] Lawyers and other experts allege that, in some cases, collectors harass debtors to the point they take this route.[13] Japanese nonbank lenders, starting about a decade before 2006, began taking out life insurance policies which include suicide payouts on borrowers that included suicide coverage, and borrowers are not required to be notified.[13]

Disrupt IT