Kobe Steel Says It Falsified Data on Some Aluminum, Copper Parts

Kobe Steel Co. Ltd. said on Sunday that it had falsified data related to strength and durability of some aluminum and copper parts products to make them look as if they met client quality standards.  Japan’s third-biggest steelmaker said the products were delivered to more than 200 companies but did not disclose specific customer names. The Nikkei earlier reported online that products using falsified data were delivered to firms including MitsubishiHeavy Industries Ltd.’s regional jet unit and auto makers. Kobe Steel said it discovered the data falsification in inspections it conducted on products shipped from September 2016 through August 2017, adding that there haven’t been any reports of safety issues with products concerned. The affected products account for about 4 percent of its shipments of aluminum parts, copper parts and aluminum castings and forgings. The company said it is still ascertaining the impact on earnings and that it has established a committee on quality issues. Kobe Steel’s aluminum and copper operations, which also includes products such as sheets, plates and tubes, account for about 20 percent of its total sales, according to data for the quarter ended June 30.

Shinko Wire Co., a Kobe Steel affiliate, in June 2016 said a unit had misstated data on tensile strength of stainless steel wires for springs and that it had supplied customers with alloy that failed to meet Japanese industrial standards.

In other recent Japanese product-related cases, Takata Corp. pleaded guilty in the U.S. in February to one count of wire fraud for misleading automakers about the safety of its exploding air bags. Toyo Tire & Rubber Co. officials were referred to prosecutors in March following the company’s 2015 admission that it had falsified data on rubber for earthquake-proofing buildings. Nissan Motor Co. last week recalled more than 1 million cars in Japan after regulators discovered unauthorized inspectors approved vehicle quality.

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