• Kyodo


Ube Industries Ltd. said Thursday that an internal probe found the maker of chemical products might been conducting improper quality checks since the 1970s.

To take responsibility, President Yuzuru Yamamoto will return his entire salary for the month of June while five other board members and executives, including Chairman Michio Takeshita, will take 30 to 60 percent pay cuts for the month, Ube Industries said.

The company “had not prioritized ensuring quality as much as manufacturing,” said the report from the investigative team. The probe was launched in February and involved outside lawyers.

To prevent similar problems, the company will set up a committee led by the president to monitor quality control and will introduce a system to allow whistleblowers to report misconduct.

The probe found that the lax quality inspections affected 24 products at six of the group’s companies, which have been shipped to 113 companies.

Previously, the company said the misconduct concerned some polyethylene products at a plant in Chiba Prefecture and a case in which the origin of raw concrete from a subsidiary was found to be fabricated.

Ube Industries is the latest Japanese manufacturer to be involved in a string of data-rigging scandals that have inflicted significant damage to the reputation of Japan’s manufacturing sector. The others include Nissan Motor Co., Subaru Corp. and Kobe Steel Ltd.

A report from the investigation said the misconduct at Ube Industries occurred over a long period as a result of a corporate culture that excessively emphasized hitting delivery deadlines. Another contributing factor was labor shortages, it said.