Kobe Steel indicted over fabricating product quality data

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, July 20, 2018
Adjust font size:

Kobe Steel Ltd. was indicted by prosecutors Thursday on suspicion its instances of falsifying product quality data have violated a competition law.

By mass-misrepresenting its inspection data and providing false information about the strength and durability of its products, authorities believe the firm, Japan's third-largest steelmaker, is criminally liable and will face criminal charges.

The steelmaker is accused of manipulating data to meet the specific needs of its clients at three of its plants in Japan. The plants are in Tochigi, Yamaguchi, and Mie prefectures, according to the indictment.

The scandal-mired steelmaker said in October last year that it had found cases of improprieties regarding inspection data that failed to meet industry inspection standards.

The results of an internal probe initially found that products sold that had their inspection data fabricated were shipped to hundreds of companies.

Kobe Steel has admitted sending quality assurance certificates to its clients between September 2016 and September 2017, despite the corresponding products not meeting the requisite standards.

At the conclusion of a probe and in a report released in March, Kobe Steel said in order to make it look like their products met their clients' specifications, they deliberately falsified the strength and other data pertaining to products supplied to over 600 companies at home and overseas.

Data was manipulated at 23 domestic and overseas plants, the report said.

The company has admitted that more than 40 employees were involved in the falsification practice, which the firm said had been endemic in the company since the 1970s when the misconduct began at its Tochigi Plant.

The steelmaker's headquarters were recently raided in Tokyo and Kobe as well as other locations by police and prosecutors in search of evidence of the company's misdoings and to question staff and officials about the fraudulent activities.

While initially admitting to falsifying inspection data on a number of its products, including aluminum, copper, steel powder and special steel products, it later came to light that the embattled steel maker's own investigations had, additionally, revealed cover-ups and more incidents of data falsification.

Companies ranging from automakers and airplane manufacturers, to defense equipment and Shinkansen bullet train makers, have been affected by the scandal that has rocked the manufacturing world both domestically and globally.

In Japan, major railway operators Central Japan Railway and West Japan Railway have stated that their Shinkansen bullet trains contained aluminum parts sourced from Kobe Steel that did not meet industry standards.

Beyond automakers and trains, Kobe Steel has also been implicated in fabricating data for aerospace and defense-related products.

Regarding Kobe Steel's overseas clients, companies including General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co., Airbus and Boeing Co. have been undertaking investigations to see if their products have been adversely affected by Kobe Steel's erroneous data-related practices.

As a result, the U.S. Department of Justice ordered Kobe Steel to hand over documents relevant to the data falsification scandal, and a number of the firm's overseas clients have filed class-action civil lawsuits against Kobe Steel for providing products that were not up to industry specifications.

Follow China.org.cn on Twitter and Facebook to join the conversation.
ChinaNews App Download
Print E-mail Bookmark and Share

Go to Forum >>0 Comment(s)

No comments.

Add your comments...

  • User Name Required
  • Your Comment
  • Enter the words you see:   
    Racist, abusive and off-topic comments may be removed by the moderator.
Send your storiesGet more from China.org.cnMobileRSSNewsletter