The Toyota Motor Company has been in the news a lot lately over quality issues with its vehicles. Akio Toyoda, grandson of company’s founder, appeared before the U.S. Congress to personally apologize for the problems with his company’s vehicles and take full responsibility for making things right. It was a rare thing to see a Japanese corporate leader in such a public way — by and large, shacho (company presidents) here are all but invisible, and flamboyant leaders like Apple’s Steve Jobs or Nissan’s Carlos Ghosn are not very common. The Japanese media has been covering reactions of the U.S. government and media closely, watching to see to what extent some of the statements and posturing is driven by nationalism and politics. The Japanese are very sensitive to the specter of “Japan bashing” left over from the 1980s, and want to avoid any movement in that direction. In case you’re curious, the name Toyota was chosen for the company Keiichi Toyoda founded in 1937 because it has a “lucky” number of strokes when written in katakana.
Toyota is having a tough time with some quality issues, but Prius-tan want to help.