Kobe Steel president admits possibility of more irregularities

(Jiji Press)

Hiroya Kawasaki, president and chairman of Kobe Steel Ltd., under fire for its products inspection data falsification scandal, admitted Thursday the possibility of more related irregularities coming to light in the future.

Kawasaki mentioned such a possibility when he explained about the scandal at the Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry.

He promised that Kobe Steel will carry out an in-house investigation into the matter, while the ministry demanded that the company report the results of the probe in about two weeks.

The falsely certified Kobe Steel products are used by a wide range of manufacturers, including those of automobiles, airplanes, Shinkansen bullet train cars and defense hardware.

Kawasaki noted that Kobe Steel products are used not only by Japanese firms but also by overseas clients, including General Motors Co. and Daimler AG. Hitachi Ltd. also utilizes affected products in high-speed train cars used in Britain.

He visited Akihiro Tada, director general of the ministry’s Manufacturing Industries Bureau, and apologized for the data falsification having caused anxiety to many people. “The top priority is safety checks and confirmation of the safety of products already shipped, and we’ll make all possible preparations to do that,” he said.

Speaking to reporters after visiting the ministry, Kawasaki said, “Possibly at the end of October, we’ll announce our efforts to find the cause of the irregularities and our preventive measures.”

“I’ll exercise leadership in overcoming the current difficulties,” Kawasaki said, suggesting that he does not intend to step down in the near future to take responsibility for the mismanagement.

He said he will hold a press conference within two weeks to give explanations about the progress of the in-house investigation.

On Wednesday, Kobe Steel said inspection data falsifications were newly confirmed for iron powder mainly used to make automobile parts and for optical disc materials produced by a subsidiary, on top of those for aluminum and copper products already announced.





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