Another 830,000 are in North America, 290,000 in Europe, 3,000 in China, and the rest in other parts of the world.
Toyota says that it was unaware of any accidents caused by the fault.
Of a total of about 2.43 million vehicles affected, 94% are the Prius and its derivatives, with the hybrid version of the Auris compact hatchback making up the remainder, Toyota spokesman Jean-Yves Jault said by email Friday.
Toyota said the cars involved in the recall had already been involved in previous recalls in 2014 and 2015, but: "the remedy conducted then did not anticipate the new condition identified in this recall".
In a statement, the company said that some vehicles could fail to switch to a "failsafe" driving mode, increasing the risk of potential crashes.
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Dealership technicians will apply a software patch to the recalled vehicles, which should clean the problem up and ensure that "limp" mode activates when it should.
"If this occurs, the vehicle could lose power and stall".
Toyota said it had received three reports from Japan by the end of September that related to the problem and it reported them to the transport ministry.
It's one of the largest recalls for Toyota unrelated to Takata Corp. airbags or 2009's unintended acceleration crisis.
Toyota has sold more than 10 million hybrid gasoline-electric vehicles globally, including the Prius, since 1997.