March 18, 2018

Bullet Train Wheel Parts Made by Kobe Steel Failed Quality Tests

12 October 2017, 08:43 | Casey Mitchell

Image Zoom |By Yuka Obayashi

Image Zoom             
                                                            |By Yuka Obayashi

Central Japan Railway Co. said aluminum used for its shinkansen trains was found to have not met Japanese Industrial Standards.

Toyota, Nissan, Honda, Mitsubishi Motor, Subaru and Mazda joined aviation firms and defence contractors Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Kawasaki Heavy Industries and IHI that have used the steel maker's products.

Kobe Steel said late on Wednesday it 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.

While there has not been any reports that Kobe Steel products posed safety risks, the company is likely to face lawsuits from investors, customers, consumers and regulators in Japan and USA, experts say.

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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.

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

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

"Nothing in our review to date leads us to conclude that this issue presents a safety concern, and we will continue to work diligently with our suppliers to complete our investigation".

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Akihiro Tada, director of the ministry's Manufacturing Industries Bureau, urged the company to move quickly in resolving the problems, which are thought to have affected numerous country's largest manufacturers.

The Kobe Steel scandal broke on Sunday when the manufacturer first admitted falsifying data linked to the strength and quality of products.

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.

The stock dived 22% on Tuesday to finish at 1,068 yen ($9.50), its maximum daily loss limit-wiping nearly a billion dollars off the firm's market value.

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It was unclear if the total of 40,900 tons of products involved included shipments to other countries.

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