Mitsubishi Materials Says Two of Its Units Falsified Parts Data

Nov. 24, 2017
Impacted products are used in industries including air, space, vehicle and electronics.

Two units of Mitsubishi Materials Corp. falsified data on products that may have been delivered to more than 250 customers in order to satisfy quality standards and internal specifications.

Mitsubishi Cable Industries Ltd. rewrote information about seal materials, while Mitsubishi Shindoh Co. Ltd. rewrote data related to the tensile strength and hardness of brass strips used for vehicle terminals, according to a statement to the Tokyo stock exchange Thursday.

Impacted products are used in industries including air, space, vehicle and electronics. They may have been delivered to 229 customers of Mitsubishi Cable and 29 customers of Mitsubishi Shindoh. Mitsubishi Materials plans to hold a press briefing on Friday.

The revelation is the latest in a series of corporate scandals that have dented the image of Japanese business. Nissan Motor Co. revealed it conducted vehicle inspections that don’t comply with Japanese regulations for almost four decades; Subaru Corp. allowed uncertified workers to inspect vehicles before shipment; Kobe Steel Ltd. admitted to falsifying product quality data; Takata Corp. filed for bankruptcy earlier this year after revelations that its air bags injured automobile passengers rather than protecting them.

According to the statement, Mitsubishi Cable uncovered improper activities in February and stopped shipping non-conforming products on Oct. 23; the company then reported the issue to parent Mitsubishi Materials on Oct. 25. Mitsubishi Shindoh uncovered improper actions in October and stopped shipments on Oct. 18; it then reported the issue to Mitsubishi Materials the following day.

Ongoing Investigation

The ongoing investigation by the companies has not yet uncovered any cases that raise the possibility of legal violations or safety issues, according to the statement. A third unit, Mitsubishi Aluminum Co. Ltd., also shipped non-conforming products; however, it has already confirmed with all its customers the safety of those products.

Airbus SE does not directly procure any materials from Mitsubishi Materials or Mitsubishi Cable for its aircraft, according to an emailed statement from the company. It’s investigating to see if any of its suppliers are affected. Boeing Co. is reviewing the matter and will take timely and appropriate action as necessary, according to an emailed statement from Boeing Japan.

Mitsubishi Cable had 513 employees as of March this year and net sales of 29.5 billion yen (US$265 million) for the year ended March, according to its website. Mitsubishi Shindoh had 1,040 employees as of March 2016 and net sales of 128 billion yen for the financial year 2015, according to its website. Mitsubishi Materials had a consolidated total of 24,636 employees as of March 2016 and consolidated net sales of 1.42 trillion yen for the year to March 2016, according to its website.

By Keiko Ujikane

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