Business / Corporate

Another Japanese maker of earthquake shock absorbers found to have falsified data

Kyodo

The land ministry said Tuesday that Kawakin Holdings Co., a maker of quake shock absorbers, has been found to have fabricated quality data on some of its products, days after a similar scandal unfolded over another manufacturer, KYB Corp.

Kawakin’s oil damper-maker unit altered quality data on four quake absorption and 89 quake control devices, shipped between February 2005 and last month, when they did not meet standard figures set by its customers.

The substandard products have been installed in 93 structures in 26 of the country’s 47 prefectures, including 31 educational facilities, 13 government buildings and 16 offices, according to Kawakin, listed on the second section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

The company said it has also altered data on products shipped overseas but the details are still under investigation.

The announcement, which sparked worry and anger among the owners of public and private facilities equipped with the products, came just days after KYB admitted to falsifying quality data for similar products for over a decade, possibly affecting around 1,000 buildings nationwide. At about 40 percent, KYB has the largest share of the seismic isolator and damping device market in Japan.

“We deeply apologize to our business partners and product owners,” said Kawakin Holdings President Shinkichi Suzuki at a news conference at the land ministry in Tokyo.

The company, headquartered in Kawaguchi, Saitama Prefecture, did not disclose the names of the affected properties, but said it had altered data for quake control devices shipped to Taiwan and likely to other Asian markets. It said the details were still being determined.

Kawakin said a total of three inspectors falsified the data, with one having left the company years ago. Their motive was probably to meet delivery dates, the firm said.

Suzuki denied company-wide wrongdoing, saying the falsification was only known by a limited number of inspectors, adding it remains unclear how the malpractice would affect earnings.

The products in question were made by Koyo Seiki Co. and shipped by Kawakin Core-Tech Co., subsidiaries of the holding company.

The ministry has ordered 88 makers of quake absorption devices to report by this week whether there were similar cases of malpractice, moving up the initial deadline of the end of the year.