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Honda to recall 135,000 cars in Japan as Takata air bag fallout spreads

A woman using her mobile phone walks past a logo of Honda Motor Co outside the company's dealership in Tokyo October 28, 2014. REUTERS/Yuya Shino

By Maki Shiraki

TOKYO (Reuters) - Honda Motor Co <7267.T> will soon recall 135,000 vehicles in Japan as recalls in the United States involving potentially defective air bags by Takata Corp (7312.T) expand, a Honda spokeswoman said on Friday.

The spokeswoman said she did not know when the recall would be announced.

Defective Takata air bag inflators, which can explode and shoot shrapnel into the car, have been linked to five deaths. More than 16 million cars have been recalled globally since 2008, the bulk by Takata's top customer Honda.

Several carmakers in the U.S. have issued regional recalls of certain models to investigate what is causing some Takata air bags to explode with excessive force.

U.S. safety regulators have ordered Takata to have those recalls expanded nationwide.

As a result, Honda will recall similar models in Japan, the spokeswoman, who asked not to be named, told Reuters.

An official at Japan's transport ministry has said that a nationwide U.S. recall could add 200,000 Honda and Mazda Motor Corp <7261.T> cars to the 2.6 million cars fitted with Takata air bags already under recall in Japan.

Mazda spokeswoman Keiko Yano said on Friday: "We are still considering whether to conduct a domestic recall, but no conclusion has been reached."

Toyota Motor Corp <7203.T> said on Thursday it would call back 190,000 more vehicles to replace potentially defective air bags made by Takata, and Japan's regulator said it may change its recall system to better respond to what it called an "unprecedented" crisis.

(Writing by William Mallard; editing by Susan Thomas)