Mitsubishi Electric Corp. President Takeshi Sugiyama said Friday he will resign to take the blame for decades of “organizational misconduct” after the Japanese electronics conglomerate found it had cheated on inspections for air conditioners and compressors for train use.

Speaking at a news conference, Sugiyama apologized for the company’s failure to address its misconduct that may have lasted over three decades since around 1985, saying that the latest fiasco had caused great problems and concerns.

“I reached the conclusion that it is necessary for me to step down so the company can work to regain trust under a new leadership,” Sugiyama said. “We have to say it is organizational misconduct.”

Takeshi Sugiyama | KYODO
Takeshi Sugiyama | KYODO

Mitsubishi Electric admitted that about 84,000 air conditioners were delivered between 1985 and 2020 while about 1,500 air compressors, used to control train doors and brakes, were shipped in the past 15 years. Its customers include major Japanese train operators East Japan Railway Co., West Japan Railway Co. and Central Japan Railway Co.

The air conditioners in question were manufactured at a plant in Nagasaki Prefecture, and about 20% of around 160 people interviewed in relation to the misconduct at the factory have admitted their involvement, Mitsubishi Electric said.

Mitsubishi Electric said the safety of the products has not been compromised, adding that it will conduct its own investigation and release the findings in September.

“I have asked myself over and over again whether all stakeholders, from our customers and shareholders to our employees, will support my staying as president,” Sugiyama said, adding that he made up his mind Thursday night.

The Japanese electronics maker found out about data fabrication in air conditioner inspections in mid-June but did not reveal the issue to its shareholders when an annual meeting was held on Tuesday.

It is not the first time that misconduct at Mitsubishi Electric and its subsidiary has come to light. In 2018, a Mitsubishi Electric subsidiary revealed it had shipped rubber products that did not satisfy promised quality standards. Last year, Mitsubishi Electric also said automotive radio receivers shipped to the European Union did not meet local standards.

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