In the U.S., General Motors said it is checking whether its cars contain falsely certified parts or components sourced from Kobe Steel, the latest major automaker to be dragged into the widening scandal.
Kawasaki told reporters the trade ministry had ordered Kobe Steel to report on the result of safety checks within two weeks, and on the reasons for data fabrication and prevention measures in under a month.
Kobe Steel's research institute found data that may have been falsified for an iron powder product and another that's not aluminum or copper, spokesman Tatsuro Kano said by phone Wednesday, declining to identify the latter because investigations are ongoing. Our investigation concerns whether Kobe Steel has violated the federal securities laws and/or engaged in other unlawful business practices.
Industry ministry officials said Kobe Steel materials were used in some defense equipment made by Kawasaki Heavy, MHI, IHI Corp and Subaru and checks were being made for any safety issues.
While there has not been any reports that Kobe Steel products posed safety risks, the company is likely to face lawsuits from investors, customers, consumers and regulators in Japan and USA, experts say.
Investors have also rushed to unload Kobe Steel's bonds, causing the extra yield demanded to hold the securities over Japanese government notes to jump. He criticised the apparently widespread falsification of data as "inappropriate".
Honda spokesman Tamon Kusakabe told AFP: "As to safety, we are still studying (a possible) impact".
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Mr Tsuchida insisted that Kobe Steel was taking all necessary steps to investigate how this happened.
It was unclear if the total of 40,900 tons of products involved included shipments to other countries.
Toyota also confirmed that the material has been used in hoods and rear doors of some of its vehicles.
Analysts say the announcement further tarnishes the reputation of Japan's globe-trotting manufacturers, long celebrated for their high-quality products.
Japan's "Shinkansen" bullet trains also used Kobe Steel's aluminum, as did high-speed trains in Britain, according to engineering firm Hitachi.
USA plane manufacturer Boeing also said it had not found any safety issues.
They include cases of falsified data at Nissan Motor and Mitsubishi Motors, while air bag maker Takata filed for bankruptcy in June over faulty airbags which were blamed for several deaths and many injuries. At this point, we don't see a critical problem as we have our own safety inspection on materials we use.
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