Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Toyota settles 338 cases of sudden acceleration deaths and catastrophic injuries


Toyota MDL federal judge James V. Selna recognized as a "legend of the law"


Law360, New York (July 22, 2015) -- Attorneys on both sides of multidistrict litigation over deaths and injuries caused by alleged unintended acceleration in Toyota Motor Corp. vehicles told a California federal judge [James V. Selna] on Tuesday that the settlement process continues to hum along, with deals reached in 338 cases, up from 289 in March.


I feel a slight question arise when I see lawyers honoring judges in this way, with law firms paying for it.  But I suppose it is standard practice for lawyers and judges to be friendly.

I only wish that the Hon. Mr. Selna would refrain from accepting confidential settlement terms when the product's safety is in dispute--at best. The public ought to be made aware that a product caused a death or injury when the case is settled, just as much as when the case is tried and the manufacturer lost, as in Bookout vs. Toyota. The intensive settlement process that has resulted in 338 secret settlements so far got its start when the Bookout jury found Toyota's software and engineering were dangerously defective and caused a death and severe injuries, and the company acted in "reckless disregard" for human safety. After that, Toyota could not afford the risk of any more trials.

Question: Wouldn't it have been better for Congress to pass tough auto safety legislation and for regulators to really enforce those laws, instead of all of these people being killed and injured in unsafe cars?
Question 2: Why aren't the people responsible for all of this death and injury--why are they not being prosecuted for murder?

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Toyota's privilege log


Example of one boring listed document. My "X" means - boring.



Today I am reading the documents that Toyota listed on its privilege log ("Exhibit A") to see whether I think they are actually legally privileged, or if the claim of privilege is really BS and amounts to simply hiding facts.

I am not qualified to officially judge, nor will my view be accepted...but I am developing opinions.

I remember NHTSA's chief counsel, OK Vincent, telling automaker defense counsel that they "cannot hide safety defects behind privilege."  I thought that was very interesting indeed, and I wonder whether Mr. Rosekind thinks that way.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Electrical Engineer Gopal Raghavan Ph.D. files defect petition for Lexus ES350 UA


Round and round the mulberry bush

I posted this children's song with my usual cynicism about NHTSA' s likely response. However, I now feel more hopeful after reading Dr. Raghavan's letter, where he makes a good case that there is a pattern of something going wrong with the ETC when cars coast at 3.7 mph. Here's the letter that was posted on the NHTSA website--but last time I checked, it had gone blank over there.



"DETROIT (AP) — An electrical engineer with a doctorate degree from Stanford University has asked U.S. safety regulators to investigate low-speed unintended acceleration in Toyota and Lexus automobiles.
Gopal Raghavan of Thousand Oaks, California, filed a petition with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration alleging that his 2009 Lexus ES350 luxury sedan surged suddenly in a parking lot, crashing into some bushes and smashing the front of the car. The agency says in documents posted Monday that it will review the petition and decide whether to open an investigation.
It's the latest in a string of claims that Toyota vehicles can accelerate on their own dating to 2009. Complaints have brought investigations and recalls totaling 10 million vehicles as well as multiple lawsuits and a $1.2 billion penalty for hiding information from NHTSA...."



Gopal Raghavan Ph.D.

Co-Founder, Inphi Corporation
---------------------------------------
Dr. Gopal Raghavan Co-founded Inphi Corporation in 2000 and served as its Chief Technology Officer from January 2001 to February 18, 2011. Dr. Raghavan has over 15 years of experience in high-speed circuit design and device modeling. He is uniquely qualified to lead a world-class team to design physical layer integrated circuits for 40 Gbps applications. From 1982 to 1994, Dr. Raghavan was a senior engineer with Intel Corporation engaged in CMOS circuit design and process development. Prior to founding Inphi, he was a senior scientist at HRL Laboratories in Malibu, California, where he developed advanced InP HBT, high speed (110 GHz), mixed-signal circuits. Dr. Raghavan also worked at Conexant Systems as a principal engineer designing integrated circuits for 10 Gbps SONET applications. Dr. Raghavan has won several awards, including the Hughes Hyland Patent Award (1998) and the Ross Tucker Award from TMS/IEEE (1993). He holds 10 patents and has published more than 30 technical publications. Dr. Raghavan holds a B. Tech degree in electrical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology as well as M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from Stanford University.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Daniel M. Harrison discloses Toyota's SUA recall negotiations with Chinese authorities

Kiss me, T.


I did not know that this writer existed until someone sent me this link two days ago.

Harrison's long piece attempts to cover Toyota's bad acts in many domains, going way beyond SUA but touching on some of the causes of the company's quality problems. The text includes interesting and (to me) very familiar quotes from quite a few Toyota internal documents.  The most interesting of them are meeting minutes from a 2010 negotiation between Toyota and Chinese auto safety regulators that pertained to recalling cars for "floor mats" in China after the Koreans were going to get a recall. Harrison does not disclose the names of the involved men on either side. But I know the names.

I will quote Harrison's quote here because it is in the public domain. I omit his own commentary that you can read in his story.

“Details of Korea Measures Final Version”,
China vs. Toyota - meeting minutes from April, 2010


Toyota to China:
“There is no possibility of similar problems occurring in the floor mats introduced in China.”
China to Toyota:
“Regarding the Korea measures, it is recognized that BOS [break override system] is very important – if Toyota wants to provide it to the customers voluntarily, then we have recognized that the present problem has already exceeded the problem of only the mat,” “However, regarding the present problem, while I think Toyota ought to know best the cause of the problem, I have come to think that it is difficult to accept that the problem is only in the floor mat.”
“To give one example, some Chinese user may replace the original floor mat with a non-original one. Because of this, if we imagine a situation in which the incident of a pedal getting stuck occurs because of that, while safety is preserved if that is a vehicle in which a BOS has been introduced, but the result will be that safety is not preserved if that is a car in which a BOS has not been introduced. Therefore, it is not logical to say that BOS will not be introduced because the problematic original floor mat is not being used,”
“Actually, using non-original floor mats is very common in China. When viewed from this point of view, it is possible to consider that this is a design problem."
"If this becomes a difference in the countermeasures taken, I do not want to imagine what would happen if there is a large scale protest.”
In addition, what do you think the reaction of Chinese consumers [will be like]  when they come to know the details disclosed publicly in Korea?“Although I think Toyota has foreseen this as an aspect of crisis management, in such a situation, of course not only Toyota but even our Administration will be the target of great pressure and we both will be in a very disadvantageous situation.”
Toyota to China:
“Even in Korea, the non-original floor mats were initially considered problematic, but … I have heard that eventually only the cars corresponding to the problematic original floor mats were taken as the targets for taking measures.” “break override systems … are not omnipotent.”
China to Toyota:
“If the Korea information is announced publicly, it will be difficult for Chinese consumers to accept the details of that announcement.”
“However, it is sufficient to show the stance of Toyota about taking the countermeasures, that is, the meaning is that Toyota should announce its stance. When we view this from the point of view of equality, it is not good if the ES350 of Korea is a target but the ES350 of China is not a target. However, never write anything about fairness in your formal documents.”
 “My purpose is to spend the rest of my days in peace.” 

I find Harrison's interpretation to be intriguing and worth reading. NHTSA, if you are reading this, go read Harrison's story.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Toyota Avalon out of control: smashes into FedEx building

Driver "lost control." Did Avalon "take control?"

When will we see the end of these kinds of crashes?

Here's the story.

REPLICATION OF SUDDEN ACCELERATION Achieved by Korean National Forensic Service

S.Korea's National Forensic Service

Unlike NHTSA, the Koreans have delved into the causes of SUA.

EXPERIMENTAL STUDY OF REAPPEARANCE FOR SUDDEN ACCELERATION INCIDENTS

Presenter: Sungji Park
Forensic Engineering, National Forensic Service, Seoul, Korea (South)
SESSIONS
Oral Presentation 05
10/15/2014 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM
(excerpts): 
The input voltage of ECU (Electronic Control Unit) was fluctuated from 7V to 14V periodically and the all of the engine data like throttle valve position, acceleration position, engine RPM, brake pressure and maximum torque of wheel were recorded.
 
As results of this study, we found that the periodical low voltage could make the throttle valve fully open and the car would reach the maximum performance condition. So, the unintended acceleration could happen without pressing acceleration pedal.
==========================================================================

American physicist Dr. Ronald L. Belt has advanced a similar theory about a cause of SUA. He continues to refine his understanding and to publish papers about it.

Simulation of Sudden Acceleration
in a Torque-Based Electronic Throttle Controller
by Ronald A. Belt
Plymouth, MN 55447
30 January 2015
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
(excerpts): 
(from page 9 of 25):
IV. Experimental Evidence for Sudden Acceleration
Caused by Low Battery Voltage
 
Experimental evidence that supports the author’s theory of sudden acceleration has been obtained recently by a research team at the National Forensic Service in Seoul, Korea. This organization is the Korean government’s official automobile accident investigation team in Korea, and it has been looking into the cause of the epidemic of sudden acceleration incidents in Korea for the last several years. Their results show that the electronically operated throttle valve in a late model car with electronic throttle can be made to open to the maximum opening position by voltage fluctuations of 14 to 7 volts on the battery supply line without pressing on the accelerator pedal. Their results were described in an oral presentation given at the World Forensic Festival 2014 meeting in Seoul, Korea on October 12-18, 2014. An abstract of their presentation appears in the published abstract book for the meeting.
 
7 This abstract is reproduced in its entirety in Figure 5 below. A paper describing their complete findings has been submitted to an international journal and will be published soon after going through the peer review process.
 
Figure 5. Abstract of an oral presentation at the World Forensic Festival 2014 meeting in Seoul, Korea on October 12-18, 2014
==========================================================================
Dr. Ronald A. Belt’s Sudden Acceleration Papers
Dr. Ronald A. Belt: Why I Publish Here
Dr. Ronald A. Belt: Comparison of Two Electronic Theories of Sudden Acceleration - 9/30/14
Further Details on an Electronic Mechanism for Sudden Unintended Acceleration - 2014
A More Detailed Electronic Mechanism for Sudden Unintended Acceleration - 2013
Sudden Acceleration Without an Accelerator Input
An Electronic Cause for Sudden Unintended Acceleration
A Detailed Electronic Mechanism for Sudden Unintended Acceleration
A Layman’s Account of Dr. Belt’s Theory
Who is Dr. Belt?
http://www.autosafety.org/dr-ronald-belt%E2%80%99s-sudden-acceleration-papers
==========================================================================
==========================================================================
[Submitted  SUA complaint of a manual transmission equipped vehicle.]
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Oct 10, 2013 - Fairfax, VA - Vehicle Speed Control
MY TOYOTA COROLLA 2010 CAR HAS MANUAL TRANSMISSION. WHEN I DROVE AT ABOUT 35MPH ON CITY STREET AND HIT BRAKE PEDAL, ENGINE SUDDENLY ROARED TO 8000RPM. I DEPRESSED THE CLUTCH FULLY, TURNED OFF ENGINE, HIT HARD THE BRAKE PEDAL,TURNED LEFT TO MEDIAN; THE CAR HIT HARD THE MEDIAN CURB AND STOPPED PARTLY IN LEFT LANE. AFTER SEVERAL ATTEMPTS ON PEDALS AND TURNED ON ENGINE, IT STILL ROARED IN THE FIRST SEVERAL TRIES. THE CAR EVENTUALLY WORKED NORMALLY AFTER 10 MINUTES AND NO INJURY HAPPENED. I NEVER LET THE ENGINE RUN OVER 5000RPM EVEN WHEN I TESTED THE CAR AND ENGINE; MY MAXIMAL RUNNING RPM IS ABOUT 3000. THIS 8000RPM SHOULD NOT BE FROM MY OPERATION. I WAS NOT CONVINCED ON 'STICK PEDAL" OR "FLOOR MAT" CAUSE FOR THIS CASE. THE SEQUENCE "TURNED OFF ENGINE, BRAKED" MIGHT BE GOOD TO "BRAKED TO STOP AND TURNED OFF ENGINE" BECAUSE IT IS TOO HARD TO BRAKE WITH ENGINE OFF. BUT, WHEN YOU HEAR THE SCARY 8000RPM ROARING ENGINE, THE FIRST REACTION IS TURN IT OFF. I HAVE SCHEDULED AN APPOINTMENT WITH DEALER.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Rumors

forked.


A tweet:
トヨタのライバル会社が米国の捜査当局にタレ込み、その情報が日本に渡った話もある。ハンプを抜擢した豊田社長の人事に不満を持つ内部の人間が刺したなどの噂がある。=関係者

Some say that Toyota's rival company squealed to a US investigation agency and that information was passed to Japan.
There are rumors that someone inside Toyota who was dissatisfied with President Toyoda's human resources stabbed her.
--- an involved person

A tweet:
なんか大企業ってすげーなと思ってしまった 実際はどうなんかしらんけど / “トヨタ、法順守を改めて徹底…ハンプ元常務役員は不起訴に

Well I'll be damned, look at what a giant company can do. I don't know the facts, but Toyota is saying that they are going to be more thorough in their compliance...but their former managing officer got away with no prosecution.

A tweet:
米国から不起訴の要請があったのでしょうね。
The U.S. probably asked them not to prosecute her.

Local anger over non-prosecution of Toyota's female managing officer - tweet: way over the usual way of doing things

Here is another controversial, maybe even inflammatory article. I'm posting it now with a machine translation of each page. I am on a deadline, so am translating it properly bit by bit.

http://www.nikkan-gendai.com/articles/view/newsx/161555/2

トヨタ女元常務“不起訴”に現場が怒り「いつもの上のやり方」
 ツイート
2015年7月8日

 逮捕翌日に“謝罪会見”した豊田社長(C)日刊ゲンダイ
逮捕翌日に“謝罪会見”した豊田社長(C)日刊ゲンダイ
拡大する

 大山鳴動して、とはこのことだ。米国から国際郵便で麻薬を輸入したとして、先月18日に逮捕されたトヨタ自動車元常務役員のジュリー・ハンプ容疑者(55)は勾留期限の8日、不起訴(起訴猶予)となり、釈放される。

 ちなみに「起訴猶予」とは、裁判で有罪は証明できそうだけど、悪質性が低いなどの理由から、検察官の裁量で不起訴になるケースだ。同じ不起訴でも、証拠が足りないなど、裁判で有罪を証明するのが困難と考えられる「嫌疑不十分」とは違う。

「たぶん釈放されたハンプ容疑者が米国に帰国してチャンチャン。『これにて一件落着』ですね」(検察事情通)

 ハンプ容疑者逮捕の翌19日にはトヨタの豊田章男社長が“謝罪会見”し、23日には警視庁がトヨタ本社をガサ入れまでした。そこまでやるかと世間を大騒ぎさせておいて“鼠一匹”も出てこない。「なんだそれ」が世間一般の感覚じゃないか。

Locally, people are angry that Toyota's female former managing director was not prosecuted
 Tweet - way beyond normal way of doing things
July 8, 2015

 The day after the arrest, Toyota President organized a press conference to apologize

Nikkan Gendai


There is much ado about nothing-- the mountains have brought forth only a mouse. It is this. As imported drugs in international mail from the United States, suspect Julie Hamp (55), former Toyota Motor Managing Officer who was arrested last month on the 18th was released on July 8th at the end of her detention, with non-prosecution (prosecution grace) .

By the way, "prosecution grace" means that guilt is likely to be proven at trial, but prosecutors refrain at their discretion due to reasons such as low malicious intent. These cases are prosecuted at the discretion of the prosecutor. Even in the same non-prosecution, it is different when there is not enough evidence, when it is considered difficult to prove guilt in court, and that is called "insufficient suspicion."

"Hamp will probably return to the US right away. Then, case closed." - (Prosecutor)

On the 19th, the day after Hamp's arrest, Akio Toyoda, president of Toyota,held a press conference to apologize. Then on the 23rd, the Metropolitan Police Department raided Toyota headquarters. They went that far to make a public fuss, but not even a mouse emerges. Doesn't the general public wonder what is going on?

ハンプ容疑者が常務役員を辞任し、トヨタも信用を失墜させるなど“制裁”を受けた。『もう十分だろう』と“政治力”がはたらいた、上の方で手打ちしたともっぱらですが、これだけ証拠がそろっていて不起訴なんて、相手が無名の一般人ならあり得ないでしょう」(前出の検察事情通)

 東京地検は、ハンプ容疑者は違法性を認識していたものの、膝に持病があり、痛みを止める目的で家族から送ってもらったものだから悪質性は低い。そう判断したとされる。

「今回の一件は、米国から確たる“リーク”があって事件化した。仮に米国側にハンプ容疑者やトヨタに対する何らかの“思惑”があったにしても、膝の痛み程度の話だけで、わざわざ情報を流すと思いますか。現場の捜査員は『いつもの上のやり方』とカンカンですよ」(関係者)

 何か釈然としない。
"Suspect Hamp lost her job when she resigned as Managing Officer, and Toyota got its own "sanctions" by losing trust with the public. It is obvious that some high-up people did something with a sense of "it's enough" and employed their political power and that worked, but when there was this much evidence, and no indictment, it would be impossible for an ordinary nameless person to have gotten this outcome" (a former prosecutor familiar with circumstances)

Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office, although hump suspect was aware of the illegality, there is a chronic disease in the knee, malicious resistance because what I had sent from their families in order to stop the pain is low. It is to be judged so.

"This affair became a scandal because there was definitely a leak from the U.S. Even if the US side had some sort of "speculation" about suspect Hamp or Toyota, with simple knee pain, do you think they would deliberately pass information out?  The local investigators are going way past their usual way of doing things, they are angry." (- an official)


Something is suspicious.

Julie Hamp is released - photos and video




Here's a video of Julie emerging from the police station:




A Toyota comment is quoted in this piece:

Toyota: "We will ensure once again that it is of the utmost importance to obey 
Japanese and foreign laws and their spirit."



Remember: Julie leaves behind, in the detention cells, hundreds of other foreign and Japanese detainees who have much less help available to them. I hope that this incident embarrasses Japan enough that it causes a shakup and reform in the police, prosecutors, and detention system to bring them in line with human rights NGO and International Bar Association recommendations.





Japanese press reports: Julie to be released this afternoon

Japanese press camp outside the Harajuku Police Station, where Julie has been held

Reports are emerging about the behind-the-scenes tangle between Toyota and the police, with quotes from both sides, and criticism of Toyota's handling of the crisis.
I am not yet sure whether these are worth translating. Stay tuned.

I think it is pretty obvious that Julie cannot hold a press conference on the steps of the police station. Too bad, as we would love to hear from her...but lawyers like silent clients, and she has needed her lawyers. [update: sure enough, she didn't]

A Toyota employee was quoted as saying that the police did not bother to inform Toyota about the arrest until 1 AM the night after, despite the presence of retired police officers who now work at Toyota. Springing a surprise like that is exactly the kind of trick that Toyota's lawyers like to use on their opponents, so I smile with some glee that this time Toyota got a taste of its own trickery, on the receiving side.


Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Julie Hamp to be released by July 8. No indictment.


http://www.yomiuri

トヨタ自動車前常務役員のジュリー・ハンプ容疑者(55)が麻薬取締法違反(輸入)容疑で逮捕された事件で、東京地検は7日、同容疑者を勾留期限の8日までに釈放する方針を固めた。

In the incident that suspect Julie Hamp, former Toyota Managing Officer (55) was arrested for alleged Narcotics Control Law violations (imports), the 7th Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office has made a final decision to release her by July 8 at the end of her detention period.

 不起訴(起訴猶予)とする見通し。地検は、同容疑者が輸入したオキシコドンは膝の痛みを止める目的で家族から送ってもらったものだったことなどから、悪質性は低いと判断したとみられる。

The outlook is for no prosecution. The prosecutors have decided, on the basis that the suspect's family sent her the imported oxycodone to alleviate knee pain, that her malicious intent was low.

関係者によると、ハンプ容疑者は「日本で規制されている薬だと知っていた」とは供述しているものの、「麻薬とは考えていなかった」と一貫して容疑を否定しているという。

According to involved persons, suspect Hamp consistently said that "she knew that it was regulated in Japan" but that she "did not think it was a drug" and denied the charges.

 
2015年07月07日 14時30分
July 7, 2015, 14:30

Comment on Twitter:

トヨタ自動車の前役員ハンプ容疑者を不起訴へ 「悪質性低い」と判断 規制薬品と知っていての行為、これを不起訴にしたら類似版はいくらでも出てくるだろう。不起訴になるならリスクゼロだからねえ。トヨタが作った抜け穴になる。
....If no prosecution, it is because that means there is zero risk to them [prosecutors]. This becomes the loophole that Toyota made.




Sunday, July 5, 2015

Julie and the Police: like "Gudetama" picked up ぐでたま

"Gudetama," the "lazy egg."
"Let me go!"




Stop dangling

Here's hoping that her lawyers will get her out of jail and out of Japan, 
in the best case scenario suggested by the WSJ

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Public Safety Commission head and Police Minister Eriko Yamatani linked with ultra-nationalist and revisionist Japanese groups



Eriko Yamatani,  associated with Zaitokukai member

 Seasoned Japanese crime reporter Jake Adelstein suggests nationalist background to Hamp arrest story
http://www.japansubculture.com/shukan-bunshun-to-release-audio-of-yamatani-interview--notes Zaitokukai links to yakuza/
http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/09/26/for-top-pols-in-japan-crime-doesn-t-pay-but-hate-crime-does.html
"Prosecutors don’t seem to care so much about justice — it all comes down to winning the case. Hamp may simply be on the losing side; her guilt or innocence is irrelevant.
...
National Police Agency sources say Eriko Yamatani, chairman of the Public Safety Commission, which oversees the country’s police force, was consulted as well before the arrest. This in of itself isn’t odd — Toyota is a major pillar of the domestic economy.
It’s worth noting, however, that weekly magazine Shukan Bunshun has previously accused Yamatani of being associated with Zaitokukai, an ultranationalist group that has been condemned by the United Nations, the United States and the National Police Agency.
In the end, Hamp will probably confess — almost everyone does. Unfortunately, however, her “confession” may only serve to reinforce Zaitokukai’s view that non-Japanese are nothing but trouble."
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eriko_Yamatani
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nippon_Kaigi - about the nationalist group to which Yamatani belongs
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zaitokukai - about the ultranationalist group with which Yamatani is alleged to be associated, and from which she has admitted receiving donations in 2010.

story of the donations from zaitokukai member(s) (in Japanese)

To be fair, plenty of Japanese do not like Yamatani. Here they are calling on her to resign 

"Yamatani - quit!"

嘘つきは泥棒の始まりですよ


Friday, July 3, 2015

Toyota Japan employee: "anyone who troubles the public should take responsibility."


 A shock.
SHOCKING ARREST AFTERMATH

http://newsbiz.yahoo.co.jp/detail?a=20150701-00000143-jijnb_st-nb
(see translation below)

衝撃衝撃の逮捕から2週間。トヨタ自動車は1日、麻薬取締法違反容疑で逮捕された常務役員のジュリー・ハンプ容疑者(55)の辞任を発表した。この日、名古屋オフィス(名古屋市中村区)から出てきた社員らからは「仕方ない」「けじめをつけるべきだ」などの声が上がった。一方、人材の多様化を図る同社の方針は今後も維持すべきだとの意見も聞かれた。
 捜査中の辞任について、50代の男性社員は「社会に迷惑を掛けたらけじめをつけるべきだ」と厳しい一言。40代の男性技術者も「問題を起こしたこと自体、脇が甘い。立場上、仕方ない」との見方を示した。
 また、別の50代の男性社員は「トヨタは人の命に関わる車を造る会社。普通の会社よりも厳しく対応すべきだ」と話した。
 ハンプ容疑者は、国籍や性別などに関係なく人材活用を進める「ダイバーシティ」推進の一環として、同社初の女性役員に抜てきされた。
 就任3カ月で辞任する事態となったが、多様性を推進する方針について、40代男性社員は「(問題は)全然ない」と発言。50代の男性社員も「より慎重にならざるを得ないだろうが、方向性は変えるべきではない」と話した。 
     "Two weeks after the shocking arrest, Toyota Motor announced the resignation of managing officer suspect Julie Hamp (55), who was arrested on alleged Drug Control Law violations. Today, Toyota employees emerging from Toyota's office in Nakamura-ku, Nagoya commented 'It can't be helped, no choice' and 'responsibility should be taken.' On the other hand, opinions were also heard that the company should continue with its policy to promote human resources diversity.
  Another man in his 50s offered stern words--'anyone who causes trouble for the public should take responsibility.' A male engineer in his 40s said 'Having caused the problem itself, she has weak defenses. Based on her position, this can't be helped.'
In addition, another male employees in his 50s said, 'Toyota is a company that builds cars which can be life or death to people. The company should handle it more severely than an ordinary company.'
...Regarding Toyota's diversity policy, a male employee in his 40s remarked '(no problem) at all.' A male employee in his 50s said "I think they must be more cautious, but the direction should not change."

If only Toyota management would consider these words, and would seriously regard not just Japanese, but the American public, and the world's public, as "the public," and would take full, public responsibility for its dangerously defective throttle control system -- that has killed people --by admitting its defects and its guilt, and seeking and accepting the resignations of those involved in its design, testing, statistics-keeping, advertising, PR, and legal defense.


     

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Toshiyuki Fukuda: Opinion about "crocodile" Toyota accepting Julie's "resignation"



http://response.jp/article/2015/07/02/254717.html

<snip most of article--here's the last paragraph>

トヨタではハンプ氏の「辞任」を受け入れたことで、早期の幕引きを狙っているようだが、これがトカゲではなく大きなワニの尻尾切りだけに今後の処理も面倒臭い。勇み足とも思えた豊田社長による緊急会見といい、事件の全容が公に判明しないうちの迅速な”処分”といい、熟慮に欠いたような今回の危機管理対応は後顧に憂いを残すことにならなければいいのだが…。
  -- 福田俊之

By accepting the "resignation" of Ms. Hamp, Toyota seems to be aiming at an early curtain pull. But this is not tail-cutting from a lizard, it is tail-cutting from a huge crocodile, so handling the situation going forward is also going to be troublesome. The over-eagerness of Toyota's president to call an emergency press conference could be regarded an attempt to "dispose" of the entire affair before the full details became clear to the public. It would have been good not to leave any remorse for the future in regard to how the crisis was managed this time, with such a lack of consideration, but oh well...

*****************************
and now for a little Lewis Carroll poetic addendum with hats off to AA:

How doth the little crocodile
Improve his shining tail
And pour the waters of the Nile
On every golden scale!
How cheerfully he seems to grin
How neatly spreads his claws
And welcomes little fishes in
With gently smiling jaws!

Japanese sentiment about "feigning ignorance" tweeted




俺はこういう事をやる人間が大嫌いだし、バレた後にシラを切るのを見るのも大嫌いだ。人間のカスだ。/ ハンプ容疑者辞任、「違法性の認識」が焦点 : 社会 : 読売新聞(YOMIURI ONLINE http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/national/20150702-OYT1T50013.html?from=tw  @Yomiuri_Onlineさんか

Shindo Iizuka: "I really hate people doing this kind of thing. I also hate it when, once the truth comes out, they feign ignorance. What human scum. Hamp resigned, but her awareness of the illegality is the focus" (from Yomiuri Online)

....

Iizuka-san, how about saying the same thing to Toyota management? They feigned ignorance after the Bookout trial verdict in Oklahoma in October, 2013, where the electronics defects that cause deadly sudden acceleration were finally made public and were proved to a jury. That feigning ignorance is far more harmful to the world's people than what Julie allegedly did and said.

*********************
More tweets [reminder: I am not endorsing, just translating]:




やってないのに何故やめたのか。もしかして認めたの?

If she did not do anything, why did she quit? Perhaps she admitted it?

トヨタが言うハンプ容疑者をサポートする体制って、麻薬を税関職員に見つからずに輸入する体制ってこと? トヨタならそんなノウハウもありそうだな

What did Toyota mean when they spoke of a system for supporting suspect Hamp? A system for drug to avoid detection of imported drugs by customs officials?
Toyota also likely has that expertise, too, huh.




Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Breaking: Toyota announces Julie Hamp's resignation.

NHK reports:
トヨタ自動車は、麻薬取締法違反の疑いで逮捕されたアメリカ人のジュリー・ハンプ常務役員が辞任したと発表しました。

Toyota announces that Julie Hamp, arrested on suspicion of violating drug control laws, has resigned.

このたびは、弊社常務役員ジュリー・ハンプ氏の件で、世間をお騒がせすることになり、改めて、お詫び申し上げます。
 6月30日、ハンプ氏より、弊社常務役員職辞任届が参りました。弊社といたしましては、ハンプ氏の逮捕以降、世間を大変お騒がせし、多くの方々にご心配やご迷惑をおかけしていることを勘案し、ハンプ氏の届を受け入れることといたしました。
 ハンプ氏の常務役員への登用は、日本国籍ではない役員が日本に常駐するという弊社にとって初めての経験であり、大きな決断でもありました。弊社といたしましては、今回の件を踏まえ、世界のどこでも社員が安心して働き、活躍することができるよう、改善すべき点はしっかりと改善した上で、「真のグローバル企業」を目指し、国籍、性別、年齢などにかかわらず、多様性を尊重し、「適材適所」の考え方に基づいた人材登用を今後とも進めてまいる所存です。
 今回のハンプ氏の件につきましては、現在も捜査が継続しており、弊社よりご説明できる内容が非常に限られておりますので、このようなステートメントを発表させていただきました。何卒、ご理解賜りますよう、よろしくお願い申し上げます。


以上

Dot-Asahi: Japanese observers comment on Toyota's own troubles

Circled wagons.

http://dot.asahi.com/wa/2015063000099.html

[this translation begins mid-article, skipping all the recitations of background facts in its first paragraphs]. Usual disclaimer on translation quality. This is really more opinion than reporting...

捜査の行方はさておき、苦境に立たされたのはトヨタだ。4月に就任したばかりのハンプ容疑者は広報の責任者で、トヨタ初の女性常務役員。抜擢した豊田章常務役員。抜擢した豊田章男社長は逮捕翌日の19日に会見し、「私にとってもトヨタにとってもかけがえのない仲間」「捜査を通じて、法を犯す意図がなかったことが明らかにされると信じている」と、かばった。この会見に違和感を覚えたと語るのは、危機管理コンサルタント会社「リスク・ヘッジ」の田中辰巳代表だ。

Setting aside the investigation's direction, it is Toyota that is in dire straits. Suspect Hamp was just recently appointed to be in charge of public relations, and was Toyota's first female Managing Officer. Akio Toyoda, who handpicked her, had a press conference on the 19th, the day after her arrest, backing her by saying "for me she is an irreplaceable friend." "I believe that the investigation will clarify that there was no intention to break the law." We asked Tatsumi Tanaka, representative of Risk Hedge, a crisis management consultancy, to comment on what he was uncomfortable with in this press conference.

「問題は意図があったかではなく、逮捕されたという事実。コンプライアンスの対外的な責任者である広報担当役員が逮捕されたのに、事態を重く受け止めていないようなメッセージになってしまった。『お友達内閣』と言われた第1次安倍政権で、不祥事を起こした閣僚をかばった安倍晋三首相を連想しました」

"The problem is not whether there was intent, the problem was the fact that she was arrested. Even though the arrest was made of a public relations officer who is excluded from responsibility for compliance, it sends a message that the situation is not being taken very seriously." "It reminds me of when members of PM Shinzo Abe's first Cabinet members were disgraced, but the cabinet was spoken of as his "Cabinet of friends."


 東京商工リサーチの友田信男情報本部長の評価も厳しい。

「『あくまで個人の犯罪』と説明すべきだった。ハンプ容疑者が有罪となった場合、『会社ぐるみでかばっていた』と思われかねない」

 間の悪いことに、24日にトヨタが公表した有価証券報告書から、章男社長に前年度を約1億2千万円上回る3億5200万円の報酬が支払われたことが報道された。配当金との合計では約12億7千万円となり、日産自動車のカルロス・ゴーンCEOの約11億4千万円をも上回った。

   Nobuo Tomoda, information HQ chief at Tokyo Shoko Research, also provided a severely critical assessment.

  "It should have been described as 'only a crime by an individual.' If suspect Hamp is found guilty, the company could be seen as 'having defended its own.' "

    Making a bad situation even worse, Toyota's June 24 securities report disclosed president Akio Toyoda's annual compensation of 352 million yen, substantially more than the 120 million yen he earned the previous fiscal year. [note: remember that during this year's Japan Toyota workers union negotiations, the workers demand for higher wages was refused by Toyota representatives who said that it was "totally impossible"] Together with his dividends, he will be receiving about 1.27 billion yen, surpassing even the 1.14 billion yen received by Carlos Ghosn, Nissan's CEO.

好調な業績の反映とはいえ、「おごり」が今回の綻びにつながった可能性はないのか。

「他国と比べて極めて閉鎖的だった日本の自動車業界で、いち早くグローバル化を目指した人事自体は画期的だった。この失敗も今後の糧になるのでは」(友田氏)

 コンプライアンスも、カイゼン方式で復活を!?

Although the compensation may reflect the company's strong performance, perhaps this arrogance has led to the trip-up this time.

  Mr. Tomoda comments: "The Japanese auto industry was very closed compared with other countries, and the personnel itself was revolutionary, with the aim of quick globalization. This failure may also become the seed of the future."

Maybe the "kaizen" method should also be applied to compliance!?


Reporter reports on Julie's situation in detention

In Harajuku, Tokyo.


A rather shady form of journalism results when the reporter quotes himself in his story, but this is what we have from someone who has actually seen Julie (apparently), so I am translating it for the record. (again, rather in a rush). According to information that I posted last week about detention conditions in Japan, her situation seems typical.


6月18日に警視庁の組織犯罪対策5課に逮捕された、トヨタ自動車のジュリー・ハンプ常務役員(55)は、慣れない留置場生活にすっかり憔悴し切っているという。担当記者によると、

「身柄は女性向けの留置場がある原宿署に置かれています。電話もパソコンも使えない生活にストレスを感じており、就寝時も電灯が消えないので不眠に悩んでいるそうです。連日、苛立って落ち着かない様子ですが、それがオキシコドンの禁断症状か否かは不明です」
Toyota officer Julie Hamp (55) who was arrested on June 18 by the Metropolitan Police Department, Organized Crime Group 5, is said to be completely haggard and emaciated from her unaccustomed life in custody. According to the reporter in charge of this story,

"She is in custody in the Harajuku police station, where there is a jail for women. She is feeling the stress of a life in which phones or PCs cannot be used, and suffers from insomnia because the electric lights stay on even during sleeping hours. Every day, she looks restless and irritated/vexed/frustrated, but whether or not there is withdrawal from oxycodone is unknown."

「彼女は世界的企業の役員という地位にあり、年収も数億円に達するエリート。仮に麻薬の常習者だったとしても売人とは考えにくい。周辺を調べる必要性も乏しく、本来なら即日、少なくとも翌12日には身柄を拘束していてもおかしくない案件だったというのです」

"She is in a position as officer of a global company, and her annual income is in the hundreds of millions of yen, so she is an elite. Even if we were to presume she is drug-dependent, it is inconceivable that she sells drugs. It is said that there is a need to investigate the surrounding [people and circumstances] that would normally take days, and it is a matter for which it would not be unusual for custody to require the next 12 days at a minimum."

トヨタに限らず、役員が麻薬で逮捕される事態は、企業のコンプライアンスに関わる重大な問題である。

「それだけに、仮にこの日より前に現役の役員が麻薬所持で逮捕されたとなると、トヨタ自動車の株主から経営陣の責任を問う声が上がるなど、総会が紛糾して大きな混乱を招く恐れがありました。加えて株価への影響も予想されましたから、警視庁はそれらに配慮をして、16日を跨いだ18日に逮捕したというわけです」

Not just Toyota, but any company would have a serious compliance problem in a situation in which an officer is arrested for drugs.

"On that basis alone, there was a concern that the general shareholder's meeting would fall into confusion and disputes if an officer was arrested for drugs in the days prior to the meeting, and shareholder voices would be raised to question the responsibility of Toyota's management team. There was also an expected impact on the share price, so the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department arrested her two days later on the 18th in consideration of these factors."

 いかな警視庁といえども、相手は純利益が2兆円に達する超巨大企業。政界への影響力を気にしたのか、或いは警視庁のOBがトヨタ本体や関連会社に天下りでもしているのか。

 そこで、トヨタ自動車への配慮や天下り職員の有無を聞いたところ、「そのような事実はありません。職員の退職後の就職については、個人のプライバシーに関することであるのでお答えしかねます」(警視庁広報課)

 当のハンプ氏は容疑を否認中。保釈のメドも立たないままである。

「ワイド特集 七転八起の七転八倒」より
※「週刊新潮」2015年7月2日号

 Even given the strength of the Metropolitan Police Department, their opponent is a super giant company with net earnings reaching 2 trillion yen. Perhaps they may have worried about the potential impact in the political world, or perhaps retirees from Toyota or its affiliates are among the old boys employed in the Metropolitan Police Department.

So, the reporter inquired about the presence or absence of of Toyota's former employees, and the answer was: "There are no such facts. I cannot comment on our employment of retirees because that is related to personal privacy." (Metropolitan Police Department Public Relations Division)

Ms. Hamp still denies the charges. There is still no bail.

From the Wide feature, "Vicissitudes of Life" in Shukan Shincho magazine, July 2, 2015 issue