Published: Thu, October 12, 2017
Economy | By Melissa Porter

Kobe Steel shares untraded, set to drop on data falsification

The company, which supplies materials to a wide variety of industries, including aircraft, bullet train and automotive manufacturers, did not divulge who its clients were, but said that the issue - which may trace as far back as a decade ago - could affect products sent to as many as 200 companies.

According to The New York Times, Kobe Steel falsified data for roughly 19,300 tons of flat-rolled and extruded aluminium products, 19,400 units of aluminium casting and forgings, and 2,200 tons of copper products.

The company's stock ended 22% lower in Tokyo as customers including Toyota Motor Corp, Honda Motor Co and Subaru Corp said they had used materials from Kobe Steel that were subject to falsification.

The brewing crisis is the latest in a string of quality control and governance scandals to hit major Japanese businesses in recent years, undermining the country's reputation for quality.

Hitachi said the Kobe Steel materials were used in its trains exported to the United Kingdom.

According to executive vice president, Naoto Umehara the falsification had happened at all four of Kobe Steel's local aluminum plants.

The Japanese firm is now undertaking investigations into the issue, and is working with about 200 companies that it supplies products to. "We recognize that this breach of compliance principles on the part of a supplier is a grave issue".

- Mitsubishi Motors said it is confirming affected models as well as whether there's impact on auto safety.

Meanwhile, Kobe Steel said on Sunday that about 4 per cent of the aluminium and copper products that it shipped from September 2016 to August 2017 were falsely labelled as conforming to customers' required specifications.

Honda is one of several companies attempting to discover the extent of a widening scandal involving a company which has supplied material for its cars. Suzuki Motor Corp and Mitsubishi Motors Corp all said they are checking whether their vehicles are affected.

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