In more ways than one, communication problems plague Toyota

The World

Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda testified on Capitol Hill yesterday, sounding contrite and several times apologizing for the problems that have plagued his company. Toyoda stressed Toyota’s commitment to safety, and, at one point, spoke directly to the families of Toyota drivers who were killed when their cars accelerated out of control. The hearing lasted approximately three hours and Toyoda faced tough questioning from lawmakers, but appeared to be hindered at times by an inability to understand his questioners.

Toyota’s recent troubles have badly damaged the reputation of the company, which used to be known as a model of corporate efficiency. And the response from Toyota’s executives has drawn back the curtain on Japan’s sometimes secretive, singular corporate culture. Deborah Hayden, managing partner, Japan, for Kreab Gavin Anderson, a corporate communications consultancy, joins us from Tokyo with an insider’s look into how Japan’s corporate culture functions – and why it sometimes malfunctions.

Michael O’Brien, a staff writer for The Hill, was at the hearings. He joins us with his impressions of how the embattled executive held up during the hearing.

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