Business / Corporate

Kobe Steel hit with ¥100 million fine over data fabrication that continued for four decades

Kyodo

A Tokyo court ordered Kobe Steel Ltd. on Wednesday to pay a ¥100 million ($898,000) fine for fabricating product quality data at its domestic plants.

The Tachikawa Summary Court found that three of the steelmaker’s plants had sent about 300 falsified product certificates to clients over a year through September 2017, even though the products failed to meet clients’ specifications.

Kobe Steel was accused of violating the law preventing unfair competition by fabricating product quality data.

The fine was in line with the amount sought by prosecutors, who claimed during the trial that Kobe Steel “damaged the credibility of made-in-Japan products” by continuing the practice for more than 40 years.

The steelmaker’s defense team had sought a lenient ruling, arguing the company did not intend to secure improper financial gains through the practice.

“We are fully committed to implementing measures to prevent a similar incident from happening again and will introduce drastic reforms to win back trust,” Kobe Steel said in a statement.

The company’s report on the data fabrication scandal revealed in March last year that the aluminum and copper products in question had been supplied to over 600 firms at home and abroad and used to manufacture bullet trains and aircraft, among other products.