Japan's Kobe Steel tumbles after admitting to falsified data

Kobe Steel Says It Falsified Data

Some of the biggest vehicle manufacturers including Toyota and Honda are affected by an industrial scandal in Japan over falsified data relating to the strength and durability of aluminium used in the production of their cars.

Japan's government sought on Tuesday to contain the fallout from the disclosure by the nation's third-biggest steel maker, Kobe Steel, that it had fabricated data on components used in cars, aircraft and space rockets, sending shock waves through the Japanese manufacturing sector. These metals went into products at about 200 companies, including Toyota, Mazda, Subaru, Boeing and Central Japan Railway.

A Subaru company representative said, "We will put the safety of customers using our products first".

The fabrication of figures was found at all four of Kobe Steel's local aluminium plants in conduct that was systematic, and for some items the practice dated back about 10 years, executive vice-president Naoto Umehara said on Sunday.

Kobe said that at present there was no evidence that the "nonconforming" products would compromise safety.

The comments were confirmed by a company spokesman. "We recognise that this breach of compliance principles on the part of a supplier is a grave issue". Nissan has already said aluminum hoods that fail to meet specifications could pose a risk to pedestrians during front-end collisions, while Toyota said the metal could have been used in some of its hoods and rear doors.

The company claimed it was unclear what impact the scandal would have on its business performance, but would make a further announcement once the extent became clearer.


The company said on Sunday that about 4 percent of the aluminium and copper products it shipped from September 2016 to August 2017 were falsely labelled as meeting customer specifications.

It said that the products in question have also been used in another rocket scheduled to be launched by March 2018.

"We perceive that there was no problem as the rocket launch was a success", he said.

Kobe Steel's aluminium and copper operations account for about 20% of total sales, according to data for the quarter ended June 30. "If the aluminum business doesn't work out well, I question where the company can make money", given the mainstay steel business remains one of low profitability, he said.

"This is a serious matter that shakes the foundation of fair commercial transactions", said Yasuji Komiyama, director of the metal industries division of Japan's Industry Ministry.

Takata, whose problematic airbags have been blamed for more than a dozen deaths, pleaded guilty in the United States in February for misleading automakers about the safety of the airbags.

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