Not even a year has passed since Volkswagen was caught cheating emission tests. The scandal that followed pummeled the company’s stock value and profits. But now, the German automaker has to stand aside for a bit, because we have a new champion of deception. Mitsubishi has been at it for 25 years:
It’s almost impossible to estimate how much damage this has done to human health in Japan, but it’s probably a lot. By doctoring emission tests, there was less pressure for the company to improve its cars. Those cars are still out there on the streets and they won’t be going anywhere for some time.
Studies regarding how many people die yearly due to air pollution are inconclusive. This one puts the figure at three million, yearly^. What is certain is that pollution will shorten and decrease the quality of life for everybody. What’s even scarier is that, by now, it’s pretty obvious that most vehicles on our streets today have been sold with understated pollution records (other companies have been caught cheating or admitted that this is a wide-spread practice). Exactly on the day when I published this article, Suzuki was in the news^ regarding their fuel economy lies.
I’ve said a while back that we’re partially to blame for the behavior of companies in the past decades. I don’t want to defend Mitsubishi, but the company has an additional excuse in the fact that it’s from Japan. Their culture is one of extreme performance. There’s even a special word for people who die from being over-worked^.
Under these conditions, I am not entirely surprised that a bunch of engineers decided to lie to their superiors in order to look well at the salary review. In more ways than one, Japan is one of the worst cases of mixing Western values with another culture.