Kobe Steel is one of the oldest steel company in Japan, and also the third largest. Supplying to major vehicle companies such as Toyota, Honda, Ford, and Boeing, among others.
They make products such as aluminum and copper used in cars, trains, aircraft, space rockets and defense equipment.
On Wednesday, the company disclosed that they had found a record of falsified data of a product they had already delivered to a customer. It was iron ore powder used for making vehicle parts such as gears.
However, confirms their earlier claim that they have been falsifying data about the durability of their products for about 10 years.
More Than 200 Customers are Affected
Major vehicle companies and others are concerned, and the investigation has begun to fish out a product line that may have been engendered.
Kobe Steel supplies products to major Japanese companies such as Mazda, Honda, Subaru, Toyota, and even Ford. They also have Boeing, Hitachi, and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries on their customer’s list.
Hitachi has claimed that the trains recently exported to the UK are affected, although they have not started using the trains. Car companies use Kobe Steel aluminum for hoods and doors. Nissan, Honda, and Toyota, among others, have started an investigation to identify which models’ safety may be compromised.
Nissan noted that since hoods are related to pedestrian protection, they are working quickly to assess all potential impact on vehicle functionality.
The Steel company has begun an investigation into the Kobelco Research Institute, the body which conducts a prior test on the company’s products. They have found 70 cases of manipulated data on materials used for making liquid crystal displays and optical disks.
The company has also set up a committee, with its president, Hiroya Kawasaki as the head
The committee partners with a law firm to conduct an all-encompassing investigation of the company. The committee discovered cases of misconduct when they conducted an emergency quality audits.
The Japanese government has mounted pressure on Kobe Steel to protect the safety of people. As confirmed by the statement made by Kotaro Nogami, the Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary.
He said that Kobe Steel should take steps to prevent a recurrence of this to maintain a good reputation, and more importantly to obtain the trust of customers and the society as a whole.