TOKYO, May 21 (Kyodo) — Mitsubishi Electric Corp. President Kenichiro Yamanishi apologized Monday for a bill-padding scandal in which the company overcharged for space-related projects ordered by the Defense Ministry and other institutions.

"Regarding the issue of overcharging, we deeply apologize for causing considerable trouble," Yamanishi said in a briefing to reporters on the electrical machinery maker's business strategy, appearing publicly for the first time since the revelation of the scandal in late January.

Yamanishi added that the company has been cooperating with an investigation by its customers but declined to reveal details about its own probe and the impact of the scandal on its business performance.

Mitsubishi Electric has been suspended as a potential contractor for projects commissioned by the ministry as well as the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology.

"We take the issue seriously, are conducting thorough investigations and will work as one to further strengthen our compliance," Yamanishi said.

Regarding its business plan, Yamanishi said the company is aiming to raise its overseas sales ratio from 34 percent in the business year ended March to 40 percent "as soon as possible" after fiscal 2013.

The company is also aiming to localize production at its overseas bases, as around 80 percent of its products are currently manufactured in Japan, he said.

In overseas markets, Mitsubishi Electric is placing emphasis on Asia including China, where the manufacturer set up a number of companies in fiscal 2011 to make products such as factory automation equipment and devices for automobiles, it said.

Regarding semiconductor maker Renesas Electronics Corp., which has been suffering from sluggish business performance, Yamanishi said Mitsubishi Electric and two other major shareholders -- Hitachi Ltd. and NEC Corp. -- will study ways to support the company if they receive a request.