Two Japanese companies have admitted falsifying data on the quality of building materials, raising concerns about the safety of rubber goods and other materials used for ships, trains and buildings. One of the companies, Toyo Tire & Rubber Co., said that an internal probe found the company over 10 years manipulated testing data for products supplied to 18 customers. Separately, Asahi Kasei Corp., the other company, said its construction materials unit modified data on the installation of foundation piles for condominium construction. The admissions raise questions about the safety of buildings and products in Japan – a country long known for the quality of its manufacturing – and that is a major concern..
Toyo’s previous chairman and president announced their resignations in June, months after the company admitted to selling substandard quake-resistant components for buildings. Minoru Matsuno, president of Value Search Asset Management Co., a Tokyo-based investment advisory firm that does not own Toyo Tire shares, stated:
This is a hopeless company that could damage Japan’s image for high quality. They need to bring in a new president from outside.
Toyo said the company will expand its investigation and check products made over the past two decades. The rubber products identified aren’t used in bullet trains or aircraft, a transport ministry official told reporters in Tokyo. The ministry said it has yet to identify which ships and trains are using them, but that the Toyo products likely don’t pose any immediate threat. Spokesmen for Central Japan Railway Co. and West Japan Railway Co. have confirmed that some of their trains use affected Toyo Tire rubber products. Yu Sunagawa, a spokesman for East Japan Railway Co., said the company uses some Toyo Tire products but was still checking whether or not it uses the products in question.
Toyo Tire said in its statement that it has yet to collect enough information to estimate the effect on its earnings. In the case of Asahi Kasei, the company said it modified the construction data under a subcontract with Sumitomo Mitsui Construction Co. Sumitomo Mitsui shares, which had dropped 31 percent, surged 24 percent after Asahi Kasei said it would bear the costs for reinforcement, renovation and examination of other buildings. Asahi Kasei said it is investigating the cause.
Source: Claims Journal
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