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New data tampering scandal hits Japan

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Toray Industries President Akihiro Nikkaku (L), Executive Vice President Akira Umeda (C) and Toray Hybrid Cord, Inc. President Nobuhiro Suzuki (R) bow at the end of a press conference in TokyoImage copyright EPA
Image caption Toray executives apologised at a press conferences in Tokyo

A subsidiary of Japanese synthetic fibre-maker Toray falsified product data, the company has admitted.

It is the latest in a series of Japanese corporate scandals in which major corporations have admitted to lapses in quality control.

Toray Hybrid Cord re-wrote quality tests before shipping products to 13 companies, including tyre makers and car parts makers.

Shares in Toray fell 8% on the news before recovering slightly.

Recurring theme

Toray is the latest in a string of Japanese companies that have admitted to lapses in quality control.

In October, Kobe Steel said it falsified strength and quality data for products shipped to hundreds of clients.

Nissan recalled 1.2 million vehicles after admitting in October that staff without proper authorisation had conducted final inspections on some vehicles intended for the domestic market. Subaru also recalled nearly 400,000 vehicles for similar reasons.

Last week, Mitsubishi Material also admitted that its subsidiaries falsified product data.

‘Deeply apologise’

In Tokyo on Tuesday, Toray president Akihiro Nikkaku apologised while taking a deep bow, a gesture of contrition common at press conferences for Japanese companies affected by scandal.

“We deeply apologise for causing troubles and concerns,” he said.

He admitted Toray Hybrid Cord had discovered 149 cases of falsifying data between 2008 and 2016, but said there were no safety issues or breaches of the law.

He told the news conference Toray only decided to go public with the cheating admissions in the wake of a similar scandal at Kobe Steel, and after it leaked online.

“We hadn’t planned on disclosing it,” he said.

The company said that the data falsification occurred only at the subsidiary, and did not affect Toray’s main carbon-fibre business.

Toray supplies key parts to US aerospace Boeing and Fast Retailing, the owner of Japanese clothing giant Uniqlo.

Neither company was affected by the falsified data.

Article Source : http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-42148041