Always around this time of year, Panasonic runs TV ads for its discontinued line of large kerosene heaters, which don’t sell the product but rather encourages people who have them to bring them in to a Panasonic dealer. However, it wasn’t until I recently saw a flyer for this campaign in my morning paper that I discovered the company will actually pay you ¥50,000 for each heater you return.
The recall has been in effect since 2005, when a person died of carbon monoxide poisoning that was blamed on a National FF-model heater whose rubber exhaust hose had cracked. A month later, the manufacturer, which was still called Matsushita at that time, decided to stop production of all heaters, boilers, and other merchandise that burned oil. The FF series was produced from 1985 to 1992, and about 150,000 were sold. They were large, fixed units, which meant they had exhaust attachments that were supposed to be connected to the outside.
At first, Matsushita replaced the hoses with metal attachments, but about six months later another death was associated with an FF heater, and the company decided to recall all of the extant heaters after the government ordered the company to do something. According to a Japanese Wikipedia entry about Panasonic, the ¥50,000 cash offer has been in effect ever since.