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Japan Wants Toyota To Respond Properly To Recalls

Trade minister of Japan urged Toyota to respond properly to secure the confidence of car buyers in the wake of massive global recalls.

TOKYO (AP) -- Japan's trade minister urged Toyota Motor Corp. to secure the confidence of car buyers in the wake of massive global recalls.

"The scale of the recalls is huge. The situation is serious. It points to the possible dangers a global economy can bring," Trade Minister Masayuki Naoshima told reporters Friday.

"I would like Toyota to respond properly to secure consumer confidence."

Toyota, the world's largest automaker, has recalled over 5 million vehicles in the U.S. over problems with gas pedals and floor mats. The figure accounts for models affected by more than one recall.

This week it announced the suspension of U.S. sales of eight models -- including the Camry, America's top-selling car -- to fix faulty gas pedals that could stick and cause acceleration without warning.

Toyota issued last week a recall for the same eight models, affecting 2.3 million vehicles.

The sales suspension in the U.S. -- Toyota's biggest market -- could dent the company's fledgling earnings recovery. Toyota only returned to the black for the July-September quarter with net income of 21.8 billion yen ($241 million) after three straight losing quarters.

Toyota spokesman Paul Nolasco said Friday the company has yet to determine how long the sales suspension will continue.

"We have yet to determine the best way to address the situation. We are working very hard to come up with the best solution," he said.

In China, Toyota also recalled 75,500 vehicles for the same acceleration pedal problem.

The auto giant also said it would recall vehicles in Europe due to the accelerator problem, but said the number of recalled vehicles has yet to be determined.