October 25, 2017
TOKYO- Japanese industry minister Hiroshige Seko on Tuesday instructed private certification groups for the Japanese Industrial Standards to review JIS certifications granted to all 20 plants and offices of Kobe Steel Ltd. <5406> over its quality data falsification.
The unusual step by the ministry came as the data falsification scandal has developed into one that rocks the credibility of the entire Japanese manufacturing industry.
Subject to the review are the steelmaker's 18 domestic bases in 10 prefectures and one base each in China and Thailand. Of them, a copper pipe plant run by Kobelco & Materials Copper Tube Co., a unit of Kobe Steel, and located in Hadano, Kanagawa Prefecture, has already been under review.
A government order for such a review is not uncommon, a source familiar with the situation said. But the source added, "I've never heard of a case where so many plants and offices are covered once at one company."
Private organizations certify the state-set JIS on safety. Reviews on JIS certifications are conducted when doubts rise whether necessary standards are actually met.
If JIS certifications are revoked, product shipments to customers that seek the certifications will no longer be possible.
To obtain JIS certifications, a company needs to meet two standards--one on numerical norms and the other on quality control.
Kobe Steel recognizes that while it meets the numerical standards, it violates law for its poor quality assurance system.
The industry ministry thinks that Kobe Steel's interpretations of laws related to the JIS may be wrong.
The ministry will first check whether there are legal problems on both product quality and quality control through the review by JIS certification organizations, before exercising its rights to conduct on-site inspections based on law. Jiji Press
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