Supplier Shipped Substandard Metals Across Japanese Automotive Industry For Almost A Decade

11 October, 2017, 00:24 | Author: Terri Saunders

Japan's Nikkei share average moved closer to a 21-year high on Tuesday after a three-day weekend as expectations for continued strength in the USA economy supported sentiment, but Kobe Steel's shares plunged when it said it had fabricated data.

Toyota, Nissan, Subaru, Mazda, Suzuki and Mitsubishi were also among auto companies potentially affected, as well as Kawasaki and Hitachi in other industrial uses.

- Kawasaki Heavy Industries said many of its products use aluminum and it is now checking which ones used the material. The false data has been linked back to four aluminium factories in Japan, and for some items, the practice goes back almost 10 years, the executive vice president, Naoto Umehara confirmed. However Kawasaki said there haven't been any reports of safety issues. Nissan Motor and Mitsubishi are also top customers of Kobe Steel and said they are checking whether their vehicles are affected.

"We are rapidly working to identify which vehicle models might be subject to this situation and what components were used", Toyota spokesman Takashi Ogawa said.

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.

In a new corporate scandal rocking Japan, Tokyo-based Kobe Steel admitted that it's been faking data on some of its metal - specifically copper and aluminum. Materials were also used in East Japan Railway Co., Central Japan Railway Co. bullet trains in Japan, he said, adding that the trains were inspected after completion and there was no problems with their strength.

Heavy machinery maker IHI Corp said affected products were used in its jet engines.

MHI said Kobe Steel products were used on its Mitsubishi Regional Jet and rockets, including a H-2A rocket launched on Tuesday to put a navigation satellite into orbit. The misconduct involved dozens of staff and possibly stretched back 10 years, the company said. Kobe Steel's aluminum and copper operations account for about 20 percent of total sales, according to data for the quarter ended June 30.

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"These are improper actions that could shake the foundation of fair trade", Yasuji Komiyama, director of the industry ministry's metal industries division, told reporters at a briefing on the revelations.

"Aluminium is a strategic business for Kobe Steel", said Irisawa at Tachibana Securities. "We urge the company to make efforts to recover the trust of society as a whole, not just its customers".

And this isn't the only scandal that's been coming out of Japan as of late.

The falsification was meant to make the metals look as though they met client quality standards.

It was not clear whether it would affect the safety of their products.

Toyo Tire & Rubber officials were referred to prosecutors in March following the company's 2015 admission that it had falsified data on rubber for earthquake-proofing buildings.

Kobe Steel has said the impact of the data falsification on its earnings is still unknown.

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