Fri, Oct 13, 2017 - Page 10 News List

Kobe Steel cheating might reach beyond Japan: CEO

Reuters, TOKYO

Kobe Steel chief executive Hiroya Kawasaki bows as he speaks yesterday to the media after meeting with Manufacturing Industries Bureau Director-General Akihiro Tada at the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry in Tokyo.

Photo: REUTERS

Kobe Steel Ltd chief executive officer Hiroya Kawasaki yesterday said the firm’s data fabrication may have spread beyond Japan, as he was ordered by the government to report on how the misconduct occurred and address safety concerns that have sparked a scare along global supply chains.

“The credibility of Kobe Steel has plunged to zero. We will make efforts to regain trust as soon as possible,” Kawasaki, 63, told reporters after meeting with government officials.

A senior government official said managers at Kobe Steel were involved in fabricating data on products used in planes, trains and automobiles.

However, Kawasaki said his current priority is to deal with safety checks with its clients.

The company has found possible further cases of tampering, Kawasaki said, including in overseas operations.

The Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry ordered Kobe Steel to report on the results of safety checks within about two weeks and the reasons for the tampering, along with prevention measures in under a month.

Kawasaki was not expecting to see recalls of cars or airplanes for now and none of the company’s customers have cancelled orders, he said, adding that Kobe Steel has no plans to sell assets at the moment.

In the US, General Motors Co (GM) the latest major automaker to be dragged into the widening scandal, said it is checking whether its cars contain falsely certified parts or components sourced from Kobe Steel.

“General Motors is aware of the reports of material deviation in Kobe Steel copper and aluminum products,” spokesman Nick Richards said. “We are investigating any potential impact and do not have any additional comments at this time.”

GM joins automakers including Toyota Motor Corp and as many as 200 other companies that have received parts sourced from Kobe Steel.

The steelmaker on Saturday said it had falsified data about the quality of aluminum and copper products used in cars, aircraft, space rockets and defense equipment.

Late on Wednesday it said it had found 70 cases of tampering with data on materials used in optical disks and liquid crystal displays at its Kobelco Research Institute Inc, which makes and tests products for the company.

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