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Japan automakers check radiation on car exports

TOKYO - Japanese automakers have begun checking the level of radiation on cars to be exported from the country in a bid to ease worries among foreign consumers, an industry group said Friday.

The automakers will inspect radiation inside cars and on tires before shipment, said Hirokazu Furukawa, a spokesman for the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association. No radiation has been detected so far on cars to be exported from Japan, he said.

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"Some foreign consumers voiced concern over radiation. We want to erase their worries by taking this measure," he said. Furukawa said he has not seen a fall in Japanese car sales abroad due to radiation concerns.

Japan has been struggling to contain radiation leaks since a tsunami on March 11 damaged a coastal nuclear power plant in northern Japan, causing radiation leaks. Furukawa said automakers are currently checking the level of radiation on cars to be shipped from eight ports.

Around 10 cars out every 5,000 are being checked for radiation, he said. The carmakers will continue the radiation check on vehicles until the nuclear crisis subsides.

Toyota Motor Corp. said it has checked the level of radiation on 30 cars to be shipped to the United States. Around 46 percent of Toyota cars made in Japan last year were shipped for export.

Around 30 percent of Honda Motor Co.'s cars made in Japan are for export. Over 50 percent of Nissan Motor Co.'s cars made in Japan are to be shipped abroad.