Reports emerged this week claiming the Japanese government helped fund the development of the first generation Toyota Prius more than ten years ago. Toyota has since denied all claims, which were originated from a recent interview with Chrysler exec Jim Press who was working for Toyota at the time the Prius was first developed.

During an interview with Business Week, Press referenced the close cooperation between the Japanese government and its auto industry. The source quoted Press as stating "the Japanese government paid for 100 percent of the development of the battery and hybrid system that went into the Toyota Prius."

Speaking with the Associated Press, Japanese officials said Thursday that the only help Toyota received were several government rebates for Prius buyers and that zero funding was given for developing the Prius.

Press’ new employer, Chrysler, has denied the claims as well. In a statement on its media blog, it said Press "was not speaking negatively of Toyota" but "referenced the close cooperation between the Japanese government and Japanese industry."

The point of his statement was to express his desire to see similar cooperation between government and industry in the U.S., but unfortunately it appears his comments have been taken out of context.