National / Crime & Legal

Jakarta police say Iwatani exec in Japan, local subordinate are suspects in fatal Mandom plant fire


Indonesian police on Tuesday declared that two people, including a Japanese national, are suspects in the case of a fire that broke out at a factory run by a subsidiary of Japanese cosmetics maker Mandom Corp. in Indonesia that killed 28 people and injured 31 others.

Krishna Murti, detective unit chief of the Greater Jakarta Police Headquarters, told reporters that the Japanese man, identified only by his initials, ST, is the general manager of PT Iwatani Industrial Gas Indonesia, which installed gas pipes at PT Mandom Indonesia Tbk.

Another suspect, an Indonesian identified only as AH, is Iwatani’s junior supervisor who carried out the gas pipe installation work at the Mandom aerosol production line area at the order of ST.

According to Krishna, AH has been arrested and police have summoned ST, who is in his hometown in Japan, to come to Jakarta for questioning.

“If he doesn’t appear, we will send a red notice via Interpol,” he said.

Krishna said police had declared them suspects for their alleged “carelessness that caused fatalities.”

“Mandom had asked Iwatani to change eight flexible tubes in its production room, but the latter only changed four,” Krishna said.

The fire broke out on July 10 when a gas explosion occurred at the aerosol production line area of the factory, located in the town of Bekasi in West Java province.

Five employees died at the time, while the others died later.

Mandom built the facility to be a key production center in Asia and to meet growing demand for cosmetics products in the region, including in Indonesia, at an investment of 498 billion rupiah (about $36.76 million). Its construction was completed in June.

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