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Toyota's recent troubles weren't merely issues for its customers, dealers, lawyers and bottom line – the repercussions also went all the way up through diplomatic channels. A series of cables posted by Wikileaks reveals that then-Transportation Minister Seiji Maehara asked that Toyota's situation not cause "obstacles to trade."

Toyota has already stepped up and asked the Japanese government for a $2 billion loan to shore up its U.S. lending arm, Toyota Motor Credit Corp. We've also heard that Honda may do the same. Add Nissan and Mazda to the list now. The four biggest Japanese automakers will now all likely ask for government loans to help ensure that sufficient credit is available for U.S. customers to purchase their cars and trucks. While all four have seen sales fall less sharply than General Motors, Ford and Chrys