TOKYO – Kobe Steel Ltd, at the center of a data-falsification scandal that has shaken Japan’s manufacturing industry, admitted for the first time that executives were aware of the cheating, and reassigned three senior officials.
The 112-year-old company has had Japanese government-sanctioned seals of quality revoked on many of its products and is also the subject of a U.S. Justice Department inquiry.
No safety issues have so far been identified from the data cheating, which mainly involves falsely certifying the strength and durability of products
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CEO Hiroya Kawasaki said in November that his “ultimate management responsibility” will be decided after the outside investigators complete their report on the case. A series of compliance failings by Japanese companies have surfaced in the past few months. Scandals have involved Nissan Motor (7201.T) as well as Mitsubishi Materials Corp (5711.T) and Toray Industries (3402.T) – key suppliers of products to global manufacturers.