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Tampering Of Product Quality Data Results In Indictment For Japan’s Kobe Steel

Tampering Of Product Quality Data Results In Indictment For Japan’s Kobe Steel
Based on suspicion that Kobe Steel Ltd. had violated an unfair competition law with regards to falsification of data about the quality of products exported and distributed domestically, the company has been indicted by Japanese prosecutors.
According to prosecutors, the company – the third-largest steelmaker in Japan, is liable to face criminal charges because it had misrepresented its inspection data on a mass scale and had given out false information related to the strength and durability of its steel products.
Accusations have bene levelled on three of its plants in Japan which state that the company had tampered with data in order to conform to its client’s needs.
According to the indictment, the plants situated in Tochigi, Yamaguchi, and Mie prefectures.
Incidents of improprieties related to inspection data which did not conform to standards of industry inspection were reported to have bene found by the company in October last year.
Hundreds of companies had been sold and shipped products whose inspection data had been tampered with, found results of an initial internal probe.
The steel maker has conceded that despite not meeting the requisite standards, it had even sent quality assurance certificates to its clients between September 2016 and September 2017.
The inter4nal report said that manipulation of data had been done for 23 domestic and overseas plants.
The process of falsification of quality related data involved over 40 employees of the company, it has admitted. The company said that this practice had become endemic in the firm since the 1970s which was the time that the first incident of such tampering started at its Tochigi Plant.
The head offices of the company based in Tokyo and Kobe as well as other locations were recently raised by the police and prosecutors who were on the lookout for proof of the forgery of the company as well as interrogate staff and officials with connection to the tampering of data.
It was also revealed later on that the initial internal investigations by Kobe Steel had also identified attempts to cover up the misdoings while more instances of tampering of quality data were revealed later on.
The scandal has impacted a range of clients for the steel maker ranging from automakers to airplane manufacturers, and defense equipment companies. Also included were the Shinkansen bullet train makers.
Following the revelation of the scandal, the affected companies are also conducting their own investigations about whether their products made from Kobe steel were adversely affected or not because of the erroneous data-related practices of the steel maker.
The scandal has also resulted in the Japanese steel maker being ordered by the U.S. Department of Justice to give up all of the relevant documents that are related to the data falsification scandal. The company also faces multiple law suits and class-action civil lawsuits from a number of the overseas clients of Kobe Steel for offering products that that did not live up to industry standards.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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