Media-Shy Toyoda Prepping For Congressional Appearance

Media-shy Toyota president Akio Toyoda, who will testify before a Congressional panel next Wednesday after some hemming and hawing in Tokyo about whether it was a good idea, is likely to undergo an intense regimen of preparation sessions in order to deliver a message that will resonate with consumers, investors, employees and lawmakers, Chisa Fujioka reports.

"They will probably have an international law firm come in with a foreign lawyer and ask him possible questions in English, to test if he can understand them and answer them properly," says Kuniyoshi Shirai, executive adviser at ACE Consulting. "Content will be important, so he will undergo tough checks to see if his comments are conveyed accurately."

Although Toyoda graduated from Babson College in Massachusetts, his English is tentative. "His use of English has been his way of showing sincerity, of communicating directly with the audience, but this is a crisis situation," says crisis management consultant Masato Takahashi. "He should have just spoken Japanese, and he should stick to Japanese from now on, too. It'll be safer and leave less room for mistakes."

A Toyota spokeswoman declines comment.

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