Ja­pan steel scan­dal grows as more car­mak­ers hit

Kuwait Times - - BUSINESS -

TOKYO: Top Ja­panese au­tomak­ers said yes­ter­day they were scram­bling to as­sess the safety of ve­hi­cles con­tain­ing prod­ucts from Kobe Steel, which has ad­mit­ted fal­si­fy­ing qual­ity data in a grow­ing scan­dal.

Toy­ota, Nis­san, Honda, Mit­subishi Mo­tor, Subaru and Mazda joined avi­a­tion firms and de­fense con­trac­tors Mit­subishi Heavy In­dus­tries, Kawasaki Heavy In­dus­tries and IHI that have used the steel­maker’s prod­ucts. 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. Ja­pan’s fa­mous “Shinkansen” bul­let trains also used Kobe Steel’s alu­minium, as did high-speed trains in Bri­tain, ac­cord­ing to engi­neer­ing firm Hi­tachi. “Prod­ucts used (for both Ja­panese and Bri­tish trains) met safety stan­dards. But they did not meet the spec­i­fi­ca­tions that were agreed be­tween us and Kobe Steel,” a Hi­tachi spokesman told AFP.

Honda spokesman Ta­mon Kusak­abe said: “As to safety, we are still study­ing (a pos­si­ble) im­pact.”

“At this point, we don’t see a crit­i­cal prob­lem as we have our own safety in­spec­tion on ma­te­ri­als we use. But we are still in­ves­ti­gat­ing and it’s pre­ma­ture to say” if re­calls will be nec­es­sary.

Auto giant Toy­ota has al­ready said Kobe Steel supplied ma­te­ri­als to one of its Ja­panese fac­to­ries, which used them in hoods, rear doors and sur­round­ing ar­eas of cer­tain ve­hi­cles. —AFP

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