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Monday, September 18, 2000:

Mitsubishi Recalls Helicopters

TOKYO, Japan ( AP ) - Mitsubishi Heavy Industries said Monday it is recalling four helicopters after discovering a defect in an engine cover designed to prevent high-pressure turbine blades from flying out in the event of engine damage.

The recall of the four MH2000A choppers, the first entirely Japanese-made model, is the latest in a series of recalls by Mitsubishi group companies.

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries said the metal engine cover did not undergo a strengthening process and may not have been strong enough to hold the turbine blades if the engine were damaged.

The company said the likelihood of turbine blade damage is believed to be extremely low.

The defects were discovered in late August when company officials were reviewing production instructions for the helicopter, which went on sale last year.

The model is not for export, Mitsubishi said.

Transport Ministry officials said they do not believe the helicopter case involved a systematic cover-up.

Last week, Mitsubishi Electric Corp., also of the 28-member Mitsubishi group, said it was recalling two defective color television models that have caused at least seven fires and 60 minor problems that the company concealed for a decade.

In August, automaker Mitsubishi Motors Corp. acknowledged it had been hiding defects for more than two decades. Company President Katsuhiko Kawasoe later resigned to take responsibility for the cover-up.