October 17, 2017
TOKYO- US law-enforcement authorities have demanded that Kobe Steel Ltd. submit documents on falsely certified products it sold to US customers, including General Motors Co., the embattled Japanese steelmaker said Tuesday.
The company said its Kobe Steel USA Inc. subsidiary received the demand in writing on Monday local time.
In a statement, Kobe Steel said the group will cooperate with the US investigation in good faith, while noting that the scandal's impact on its earnings remains unclear.
The company has confirmed the falsification of quality data on aluminum, copper, steel and other products shipped to a total of some 500 customers.
Meanwhile in Tokyo, Kobe Steel Ltd. may have manipulated performance data on its aluminum and copper products for several decades, although it recently explained that the misconduct dates back about 10 years, informed sources said Tuesday.
Within the Japanese group, shipping products below standards requested by customers have been called "tokusai" for decades, according to the sources.
Shipments of such products have been basically conducted on condition of confirming the products' safety and gaining customers' consent. But it is likely some cases lacked customers' agreement.
Kobe Steel last week said that it had shipped substandard aluminum, copper and steel products to a total of some 500 companies.
The major steelmaker has expanded the scope of its investigation into the matter to cover relevant data more than 10 years ago. It plans to report its results to the industry ministry within this month.
But the investigation is expected to need much more work than initially thought, given the possibility that data falsification began several decades ago. Jiji Press
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