U.S. Transport Chief to Press Toyota During Upcoming Japan Trip

May 7, 2010
LaHood will visit Toyota's headquarters next week and deliver a tough message to improve safety

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood will visit Toyota's headquarters in Japan next week and deliver a tough message to the auto giant to improve safety, officials said on May 7.

LaHood will travel on May 10 to Toyota Motor Corp.'s headquarters in central Aichi prefecture to speak to the automaker's president, Akio Toyoda, in the wake of millions of recalls by the automaker. "You can expect his message to be tough," a Department of Transportation official said on condition of anonymity.

LaHood is visiting the auto giant's headquarters at Toyoda's invitation. LaHood had previously planned the trip to see Japan's famous bullet trains as President Barack Obama looks to expand high-speed rail in the United States.

LaHood will go to Yamanashi prefecture near Tokyo to visit the test line of Central Japan Railway Co.'s maglev, or magnetically levitated, train, which travels above the ground through an electromagnetic pull.

The company plans to build the world's fastest passenger train, a maglev that would run between Tokyo and Nagoya in Aichi prefecture, at a cost of 5.1 trillion yen (US$55 billion) by 2025.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2010

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