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Japan Steel Scandal Grows as More Carmakers Hit

12 October 2017

"General Motors is aware of the reports of material deviation in Kobe Steel copper and aluminum products", spokesman Nick Richards told Reuters, confirming a Kyodo News report. Central Japan Railway Co. said aluminum used for its shinkansen trains was found to have not met Japanese Industrial Standards.

The Japanese government urged steelmaker Kobe Steel on Wednesday to clarify the extent of manipulation of inspection data on steel, aluminium and other metals used in a wide range of products, reportedly including rockets, aircraft and cars, in the latest quality scandal to rock Japanese manufacturing.

Kobe Steel President Hiroya Kawasaki said on Thursday his company would do the utmost to investigate the reason for the tampering and take measures to prevent further occurrences.

Shares in Kobe Steel fell by more than a fifth this week after it admitted fabricating data about the strength and durability of some aluminium and copper products delivered to more than 200 companies.

The company also said Wednesday an internal probe revealed that at least 140 tons of iron powder shipped in fiscal 2016 did not meet customer specifications.

It also found one case of falsified data on iron powder products - material used for auto parts such as gears - that were shipped to a customer.

The growing number of cases of data tampering at Kobe Steel has caused a safety scare along the global supply chain.

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The Japanese business World newspaper Nikkei announced that a subsidiary of Kobe Steel has been identified as a data fraud.

Honda spokesman Tamon Kusakabe told AFP: "As to safety, we are still studying (a possible) impact".

Toyota also confirmed that the material has been used in hoods and rear doors of some of its vehicles. He criticised the apparently widespread falsification of data as "inappropriate".

Aircraft maker Boeing said it, too, is looking into the problem.

"This is not going to be the end of Kobe Steel, it could be the end for management", he said in a Bloomberg TV interview.

"Verification and inspection to date have not recognized specific problems casting doubts on the safety of the nonconforming products", it said.

Japan Steel Scandal Grows as More Carmakers Hit