Burning Sensation--Japanese Flaming Bidets Investigated

After reports of 105 units catching fire or smoking, Japanese manufacturer Toto Ltd., is investigating the problem and offering to repair 180,000 toilets.

TOKYO (AP)- Japanese toilet makers issued a warning to electric bidet users on Wednesday, saying at least 105 units have caught fire or sent up smoke in Japan since 1984.

The government ordered an extensive investigation after Toto Ltd., Japan's biggest toilet manufacturer, offered to repair 180,000 bidet toilets last month, saying several had emitted flames in 2006-2007 due to faulty wiring.

The Japan Warm Water Bidet Council, which represents nine bidet manufacturers, reported at least 105 cases of incidents involving flaming or smoking bidet toilets since 1984, the Trade Ministry said in a statement Wednesday.

The council urged bidet users to be careful, saying on its Web site that units should be turned off immediately at the first sign of trouble. The council is further investigating the incidents, it said.

Flames scorched bathroom walls and ceilings in some cases, but there were no injuries, according to Trade Ministry spokesman Kazuhisa Kakui.

High-tech toilets fitted with warm water sprayers and dryers are a standard fixture in Japanese homes. Toto's problematic Z series of bidets also feature a pulsating massage spray, a built-in-the-bowl deodorizer and a lid that opens and closes automatically.

According to the council, 66 of the defective toilets were manufactured by Toto, Inax Corp. or Matsushita Electric Works Ltd.

The council did not disclose the makers of the other 39, saying that the cause of fire was unclear in those cases.


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