TOKYO, Dec. 19 (Kyodo) — The government on Wednesday gave a verbal warning to Mitsubishi Motors Corp. for its improper handling and explanation of minivehicle recalls prompted by oil leaks.

The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism is expected to inspect the company soon over the four recalls reported since November 2010.

It also demanded the company submit business practice improvement measures by the end of March.

In response to the verbal warning, Mitsubishi Motors released an apology for failing to collect sufficient information on the vehicle defect.

The automaker obtained information on minivehicle oil leaks in February 2005 but played down the defect in a subsequent report when the ministry urged Mitsubishi to decide whether to implement measures including recalls, the ministry said.

The ministry said it had limited its action against Mitsubishi Motors to the verbal warning as the company's action fell short of a legal violation, while running counter to the objective of the vehicle recall system for measures to swiftly secure safety.