National

Asahi Kasei internal probe finds piling data falsified in over 10% of projects

Kyodo

Asahi Kasei Corp. revealed Tuesday that piling data had been falsified in at least more than 10 percent of the projects worked on by a subsidiary over the past decade.

Amid a deepening data falsification scandal engulfing Asahi Kasei Construction Materials Corp., 61 workers were found to have fabricated data on piling work in 360 out of the 3,052 projects handled by the company.

The revelation may raise questions about whether management properly oversaw the handling of the data as public concerns are growing about the safety of buildings in general.

The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism instructed Asahi Kasei to check the safety of the buildings whose piling data were fabricated after it was notified of the findings on Tuesday.

Asahi Kasei was able to check data on 2,864 of the 3,052 projects. The company could not look into the remaining 188 projects partly because their data were not immediately available or the facilities do not exist anymore.

The company found data on 2,382 piles in total were inappropriate, out of the 142,539 pilings used in the 2,864 projects.

The scandal broke in October after a condominium building in Yokohama was found to be tilting. Asahi Kasei said it has found no other problems in the 360 projects despite their falsified piling data.

The total number of projects covered by the probe increased from 3,040 as Asahi Kasei added 12 projects after a review. The company is expected to conduct interviews with those responsible for the data falsifications and identify why such practices took place by the end of the year.

Asahi Kasei has not revealed details such as the names and exact locations of the buildings, but they are located in almost all 47 prefectures.

The 360 projects in question include 102 for condominiums, 91 for factories and warehouses, 37 for schools and another 37 for hospitals and other health care facilities, according to Asahi Kasei.

Infrastructure minister Keiichi Ishii expressed displeasure in a statement, saying it is “extremely regrettable to learn that this many data falsifications were carried out.”

The piling industry has come under increased scrutiny since Japan Pile Corp., which has a bigger market share than Asahi Kasei Construction Materials, has revealed data irregularities.

Alarmed by a spate of revelations, the ministry has called for an industry-wide probe, while trying to come up with preventive steps.

Asahi Kasei had until Nov. 13 to conduct a thorough investigation but only released partial results as the probe was not complete by the deadline. The infrastructure ministry had urged it to report back by Tuesday.

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