Japan steel scandal grows as more carmakers hit
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