• Kyodo

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A panel of government experts has called for a review of the government’s product certification system for construction materials following an investigation into Toyo Tire & Rubber Co. over its defective earthquake shock absorbers.

The panel, from the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, released a report Wednesday after looking into how the company came to falsify records and install the product in buildings in Japan.

In the report, the panel pointed to problems concerning the company’s in-house checks and also highlighted issues with the ministry’s ability to check irregularities.

The panel also called for tighter regulations to be applied to firms which have carried out irregular practices in the past, including increasing the frequency of quality checks and on-the-spot inspections.

The ministry plans to implement recommendations from the report later this year, officials said.

In the report, the panel criticized Toyo Tire for what it said was “sloppy product management,” noting such practices were the result of an excessive emphasis on outdoing rivals.

Toyo Tire & Rubber has previously said that shock absorber devices which failed to meet requirements or whose quality could not be verified had been installed in 154 buildings around the nation, including hospitals and schools. The firm said at the time it would replace the defective shock absorbers.

To take responsibility for the data falsification, Toyo Tire Chairman Akira Nobuki resigned in July, while President Takuji Yamamoto will resign after an extraordinary shareholders meeting in autumn.

The product data falsification came to light in March when the government withdrew its certification for the product after it failed to meet government standards.

At a news conference in June, Yamamoto apologized for the falsification. “We seriously regret our easy business decisions that eventually resulted in a delay in our due responses,” he said.

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