Kobe Steel plant loses last quality badge
The Kobe Steel plant at the centre of a data-falsification scandal that has shaken supply chains around the world has been stripped of all its industrial quality certifications, the Japanese government said on Wednesday. The government sanctioned seal on insulated copper tubing from Kobe’s Hatano plant was also revoked after an investigation by a certification firm into its quality mechanisms, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said in a statement. The plant southwest of Tokyo has also lost its ISO 9001 quality certification from the International Standards Organization (ISO), Japan Quality Assurance Organization said. Earlier, the plant was stripped of its Japan Industrial Standards (JIS) seal for seamless copper pipe products used for air conditioning and refrigerators, as a consequence of the scandal. JIS-certified products cover about 40 per cent of Hatano’s sales by weight, Kobe Steel said. Copper products made up about 7 per cent of the company’s total sales in the year to March 2017. “We aim to regain the JIS certification and recover trust from our customers as soon as possible by implementing measures to prevent future misconduct,” Kobe Steel said in a statement. Three other Kobe Steel copper and aluminium plants tangled up in the data cheating had their ISO 9001 quality certifications suspended earlier this month for up to six months. Kobe Steel is Japan’s third-largest steelmaker, which supplies producers of cars, planes, trains and other products across the world, said last month that about 500 of its customers had received products with falsified specifications. Furthermore, Kobe Steel has an extensive role in global supply chains. It produces engine valve springs found in half the world’s cars, according to its website. Kobe shares have dropped nearly a quarter since news of the data interfering in early October.