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Kobe Steel chief apologizes to industry ministry over falsified data

Kobe Steel chief apologizes to industry ministry over falsified data”

Kobe Steel, Japan's third-largest steel maker, has announced that between September 1, 2016 and August 31 of this year, it sold aluminium and copper materials using falsified data on such things as the products' strength.

Kobe Steel Chairman and President Hiroya Kawasaki apologized to a senior industry ministry official Thursday over the company's falsification of inspection data for iron powder, aluminum and copper in a burgeoning scandal affecting automakers and airplane manufacturers in Japan and overseas.

Kobe Steel President Hiroya Kawasaki said on Thursday his company would do the utmost to investigate the reason for the tampering and take measures to prevent further occurrences.

Kobe Steel parts used in Japan's iconic bullet trains failed industry standards, officials said on Thursday (Oct 12), bringing to light fresh evidence of wrongdoing by the steelmaker as investors speculated that the crisis could trigger a breakup of the 100-year-old company.

It also found one case of falsified data on iron powder products - material used for vehicle parts such as gears - that were shipped to a customer. It was not clear whether the scandal affected the safety of their products.

Auto giant Toyota has already said Kobe Steel supplied materials to one of its Japanese factories, which used them in hoods, rear doors and surrounding areas of certain vehicles. "As hoods are related to pedestrian safety, we are working to quickly assess any potential impact on vehicle functionality".

However, it declined comment on a media report that materials used in semiconductors were also impacted by the scandal.

Aircraft maker Boeing said it, too, is looking into the problem. "But we are still investigating and it's premature to say if recalls will be necessary".

Kobe Steel said it discovered the violations during internal inspections and "emergency quality audits".

Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Kotaro Nogami on Wednesday said the faked data undermined the basis of fair trade, calling it "inappropriate". That company's reputation was hammered earlier by a massive, systematic and decades-long cover-up of defects that surfaced in the early 2000s.

Kobe Steel revealed on Sunday that some aluminium and copper products were sent to customers with false quality data.

"Verification and inspection to date have not recognized specific problems casting doubts on the safety of the nonconforming products", it said.



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