Sci-tech

Bad parts in bullet trains reveal widening Kobe Steel crisis

Bad parts in bullet trains reveal widening Kobe Steel crisis

He visited Akihiro Tada, director general of the ministry's Manufacturing Industries Bureau, and apologized for the data falsification having caused anxiety to many people.

Yesterday the company said it had found a case of falsified data for iron powder products that were shipped to... "Putting the utmost priority on the safety of our customers, we are rapidly working to identify which vehicle models might be subject to this situation and what components were used, as well as what effect there might be on individual vehicles", Toyota said in a statement.

On October 8, 2017, Kobe Steel stated that it "has discovered that in its Aluminum & Copper Business, including group companies, a portion of the products traded with customers did not comply with the product specifications which were agreed between the Company and its customers". The affair has wiped off more than a third of the company's market value and led to speculation it may be broken up.

Bloomberg Markets suggested that several OEMs might have been affected, including Ford, General Motors, Honda, Subaru, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Suzuki and Toyota.

Shares in Kobe Steel fell by almost 40% in two days, wiping more than $1.5bn (£1.1bn) off its market value after the firm admitted fabricating data about the strength and durability of products it delivered to more than 200 companies.

Kobe Steel's admission this week sent shock waves through the global automotive and aerospace supply chains.

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Specifically, the company undertook an internal investigation which found that steel and copper products sold between September 2016 and August 2017 were affected by this false labeling.

Kobe Steel's stock plunged by about 40 percent this week after the manufacturer on Sunday first admitted falsifying data linked to the strength and quality of products, a practice that may have started a decade ago.

Faced with the latest in a series of missteps that have undermined Japan's reputation for high-quality production, the industry ministry instructed Kobe Steel to assess the safety impact from the scandal. Central Japan Railway Co. said aluminum used for its shinkansen trains was found to have not met Japanese Industrial Standards.

Mr Tsuchida insisted that Kobe Steel was taking all necessary steps to investigate how this happened.

"The issue shakes the foundation of fair trade and is extremely regrettable".

Kobe Steel spokesman Gary Tsuchida told the BBC the firm regrets the falsification of data. Kobe's steel business would fetch roughly 200 billion yen ($1.78 billion), he said. "We are investigating any potential impact and do not have any additional comments at this time".