Kobe Steel confirms data tampering in iron powder products, research unit

Kobe Steel confirms data tampering in iron powder products, research unit

In Japan and overseas, manufacturers that have used Kobe Steel materials have been racing to check that the safety of their own products has not been compromised.

If you are aware of any facts relating to this investigation, or purchased Kobe Steel shares, you can assist this investigation by visiting the firm's site: www.bgandg.com/kbsty.

The Japanese government wants the steelmaker to report on the result of its safety checks within two weeks.

"It seems in some cases quality control was undertaken by veteran employees who had lots of experience, highly trusted within the organisation, and somehow these discrepancies slipped by them", company spokesperson Gary Tsuchida said.

Kobe Steel's President Hiroya Kawasaki will meet a senior official at Japan's industry ministry on Thursday, reports say.

He said he was not expecting to see recalls of cars or airplanes for now and none of the company's customers have cancelled orders.

About 200 of Kobe Steel's customers, including some makers of defence equipment, were affected, Nogami said.

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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. On Thursday in Tokyo, the shares stabilised and were up 1.1 percent by around 0150 GMT, compared with a 0.3 percent gain in the Nikkei 225. The cost to insure Kobe Steel's notes against non-payment has surged. Five-year credit default swaps were at 57 basis points on October 5 and last traded at 305 basis points on Wednesday. The premium on the company's securities maturing in November 2021 rose 148 basis points to about 202.5 Tuesday, the highest since the firm issued them in late 2011, according to Bloomberg-compiled data. It admitted the falsifications may have started a decade ago.

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.

Kobe Steel said the misconduct involved dozens of staff and possibly stretched back 10 years.

The corrosive business practices have raised broader questions over corporate governance in Japan, and cast doubt on the integrity of a manufacturing industry once the envy of the world.

They include cases of falsified data at Nissan Motor and Mitsubishi Motors, while air bag maker Takata filed for bankruptcy in June over faulty airbags which were blamed for several deaths and many injuries.

In 2015, it was revealed that Toyo Tire & Rubber 5105.T fabricated data to secure government approval for materials to absorb shocks from earthquakes.

Toshiba is still working to recover from an accounting scandal that began in 2015.

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