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Quality control scandal emerges at Asahi Glass lab equipment unit

JIJI

A subsidiary of Asahi Glass Co. shipped laboratory instruments to clients for nearly three years without conducting a test required to guarantee quality, its parent has disclosed.

The products made by AGC Techno Glass Co., based in the town of Yoshida, Yamanashi Prefecture, were sold to some 1,600 research institutions and universities from February 2015 to last month.

Asahi Glass said Wednesday that no laws were broken and that there are no safety problems with the products involved. Still, the company is likely to face criticism over lax quality control, experts said.

Asahi Glass plans to continue investigating the case in cooperation with lawyers while considering preventive measures and disciplinary actions for those responsible.

The products in question are tubes used to separate substances in centrifuges.

AGC Techno Glass skipped the test in question after it became unable to procure a reagent necessary for certifying product quality. Thus, false quality certifications accompanied products delivered to some 80 institutions and universities, according to Asahi Glass.

A product quality control employee discovered the problem while filling in for someone who was in charge of the test. Shipments were halted on Dec. 20 after Asahi Glass was informed of the offense the same month.

Asahi Glass apologized for the actions of the subsidiary, which ships some 7.5 million of the tubes each year. Annual sales from the products amounted to some ¥200 million.

Established in 1999, AGC Techno Glass makes heat-resistant cookware, lab glass products and other items.

The disclosure is the latest in a series of quality data manipulation cases to emerge at Japanese materials makers including Kobe Steel Ltd. and units of Mitsubishi Materials Corp. and Toray Industries Inc.