TOKYO – A rash of recalls is likely to be more embarrassing than damaging for Japan’s vigorous automotive industry, but as yet nothing is certain. Measured by traditional standards, the scope of the problem is staggering. Last year, recalls soared to 227, involving 5.4 million vehicles, up from 52 recalls and 52,880 vehicles in 1995. And that’s only for cars and trucks built in Japan. Of even greater concern is the lack of consensus on whether the peak has been reached or the problem ...

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