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Kobe Steel says also fabricated data in steel wire products

13 Octobre 2017

Kobe's admission of misconduct in its steel business, which accounts for about a third of revenue, ratchets up the pressure on Japan's third-biggest steelmaker. Kobe Steel's president, Hiroya Kawasaki, bowed deeply in a formal apology, lamenting that "Trust in our company has dropped to zero".

In a meeting with Kawasaki, Akihiro Tada, director general of the Manufacturing Industries Bureau of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, said the scandal had shaken the very core of fair trade.

Planes, trains and automobiles - Kobe Steel's fake product data scandal has now touched every major form of transportation. A time has not been set yet, the spokesman said. The government has urged Kobe Steel to clarify the extent of the misconduct. He criticized the apparently widespread falsification of data as "inappropriate".

"This incident of improper conduct came to light following self-inspections and emergency quality audits of the compliance status of contracts executed as to products shipped over the past year", Kobe Steel said in a news release.

The latest company to comment on its links to Kobe, Ford Motor Co., said Friday it used aluminum from the company in its Mondeo vehicle hoods in China, although it hasn't confirmed whether the parts were compromised.

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Kobe Steel, Japan's third-largest steel maker, has announced that between September 1, 2016 and August 31 of this year it sold aluminum and copper materials using falsified data on such things as the products' strength. But it said most of those materials, used to deposit thin films from various materials onto components such as computer chips, were re-inspected and are thought to have met customers' specifications. It was unclear if the total of 40,900 tons of products involved included shipments to other countries. "We are rapidly working to identify which vehicle models might be subject to this situation and what components were used", said a Toyota spokesperson.

The company also confirmed another Nikkei report that it found cases of data tampering in its steel wire products.

Aircraft maker Boeing said it, too, is looking into the problem but had no reason to believe it was a safety concern.

Kobe Steel was founded in 1905 and has been a bastion of Japan's manufacturing sector. In one of the largest, auto parts maker Takata Corp. has paid $1 billion in penalties for concealing an air bag defect blamed for at least 19 deaths worldwide.

Kobe Steel says also fabricated data in steel wire products