The Japanese giant, which has now recalled about nine million vehicles in the past two months, said the announcement covered 20 models, including its Corolla sedan, Yaris subcompact and Noah minivan.

The fire risk covers about 1.62 million cars overseas and 650,000 in Japan, Toyota said, and follows a mass recall last year for the same glitch with the vehicles' airbag inflator.

"The involved vehicles were equipped with front passenger airbag inflators which could have been assembled with improperly manufactured propellant wafers," it said in a statement.

"(That) could cause the inflator to rupture and the front passenger airbag to deploy abnormally in the event of a crash."

A company spokesman in Tokyo said the automaker had received a complaint from a Japanese customer who said his passenger seat was burned from the defect.

No serious injuries or accidents linked to the defect had been reported, he added.

In April, Toyota recalled 6.39 million vehicles globally over a string of problems, and another 520,000 vehicles last month, mostly in North America, over several issues including cable corrosion that could lead unused spare tyres to fall off.

In February, it recalled 1.9 million of its signature Prius hybrid cars, after recalling millions of other models in recent years over a possible fire risk and other safety issues.

Agencies