METI to increase fine for defying industrial standards to ¥100 million

Kyodo

The industry ministry plans to raise the maximum fine for failing to meet industrial standards to ¥100 million ($894,000), 100 times the current level, in light of the continuing string of product data scandals marring Japanese companies, officials said.

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry aims to submit a proposal to revise the Industrial Standardization Act governing Japan Industrial Standards certification when the Diet opens on Jan. 22, the officials said Wednesday.

METI chief Hiroshige Seko told a news conference in December last year that the ministry was considering tougher fines, saying data falsification incidents “could influence the competitiveness of the whole of the Japanese manufacturing sector.”

The sector’s reputation for high-quality products has been damaged by data-tampering scandals involving Japan’s third-largest steel-maker Kobe Steel Ltd., as well as giants Toray Industries Inc. and Mitsubishi Materials Corp.

In revising the law, METI will extend the scope of JIS, now limited to the mining and manufacturing sectors, to include the business management and services sectors, and ensure the process of acquiring certification is quicker, officials said.

A company can earn a JIS endorsement if its products have been certified by an approving body as meeting certain standards including size, form, quality and performance. The system aims to enhance client trust in the product and its quality.