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Mitsubishi Materials says units falsified product data

26 November 2017

Japan's reputation for manufacturing prowess took another hit this week after Mitsubishi Materials Corp. admitted it faked data on some products just weeks after a similar scandal engulfed Kobe Steel Ltd.

Mitsubishi Materials has admitted that three of its divisions had falsified data for materials sold vehicle, power and aerospace sectors.

Company boss Akira Takeuchi apologised for the scandal that could affect more than 250 clients, including Chinese, Taiwanese and United States firms.

Another subsidiary, Mitsubishi Shindoh, was found to have delivered metal products with quality levels below what was claimed by the company or requested by customers, it said.

In a statement issued Friday, Mitsubishi Materials said that its Mitsubishi Cable Industries unit had falsified data since April 2015 on the quality level of rubber O-rings, which are used to prevent leaks in aircraft, cars and other industrial equipment.

Buyers of Japanese industrial goods from Boeing Co.to Airbus SE were once again scrambling to confirm whether safety had been compromised, after Mitsubishi Materials said three of its units had faked data on products that may have been delivered to more than 250 customers. Three of its units were found to have falsified data for products supplied to almost 300 companies in the aerospace, auto and electric power industries, the company said.

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Stock in the Nikkei-225-listed firm was down ¥330 (8.06 percent) to close at ¥3,760, with the wider market fractionally in the green.

Japan's Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera expressed "extreme regret", demanding the firm immediately report the potential impact of the case on defence equipment and specify the cause of the trouble.

Mitsubishi Cable and Mitsubishi Shindoh said they have each set up a probe committee whose members include outside lawyers to conduct a detailed investigation and compile preventive measures. Around half of 29 potentially affected customers have been informed.

Kobe blamed lax controls and too much focus on profit for its shortcomings, including unrealistically high standards that exceeded clients' expectations and encouraged staff to disregard quality guidelines for a decade or more.

Mitsubshi said the companies have identified the customers who have received the products and MSC in the process of meeting the customers individually to solve the issues.

Boeing Co is now looking into the issue, a company spokeswoman said.

Mitsubishi Materials says units falsified product data