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The data falsification scandal surrounding Mitsubishi Materials widened on Friday as the company revealed customers in the US, China, Japan and Taiwan had received products for which quality data had been manipulated.
On Friday, investors had their first chance to react to the company’s admission on Thursday’s public holiday that two of its business units had, for at least a year, manipulated data about products used in crucial parts of aircraft and cars. The stock closed 8.1 per cent lower in Tokyo.
The wholly-owned Mitsubishi Cable Industries subsidiary was found to have falsified data since April 2015 for its rubber O-rings, which are used to prevent leaks in aircraft, cars and other industrial products.
Meanwhile, Mitsubishi Shindoh, also a subsidiary, found quality data for its brass parts, used in cars, and copper products used in electronics and electrical devices, had been manipulated since October 2016.
Akira Takeuchi, Mitsubishi Materials president, said he did not know how far back the data falsification problem stretched. “We deeply apologise that we caused huge troubles,” he told a press conference in Tokyo on Friday. The company said it was carrying out an investigation into the problem.
Mitsubishi Cable’s president told the press conference it had affected customers in the US, and that its affected automotive customers were in Japan.
Mitsubishi Shindoh’s president said possible affected products had been sent to China and Taiwan, and that while affected products had not been sent to US customers directly, they may have been sent indirectly through other supplies.
Mitsubishi Materials also revealed today that its Mitsubishi Aluminium subsidiary had delivered products with manipulated quality data to 16 customers.
Earlier on Friday, Itsunori Onodera, Japan’s defense minister, said Mitsubishi Cable had supplied non-confirming O-rings for the nation’s air self-defense forces.
“It is extremely regrettable that the company has been doing inappropriate actions,” Mr Onodera said at a press conference, adding that all measures should be taken to avoid a recurrence.
“Regarding current defense equipment, the maker informed that there is no immediate effect to the operation. The ministry considers there is no need to stop operation immediately,” he said.
Mitsubishi Cable said 229 customers, including 70 in the aerospace industry and seven vehicle makers, may have received affected products. The subsidiary said about 270m units, or one-fifth, of products shipped during the two-and-a-half-year period may have been non-conforming.
Mitsubishi Shindoh said non-conforming products accounted for 879 tons, or 0.6 per cent, of total products delivered during the period in question. So far, 29 customers may have received affected products.
The problems at Mitsubishi Materials follow an admission in October by Kobe Steel that it had falsified quality data on aluminium and copper products. Mitsubishi Materials has a 45 per cent stake in a copper tube joint venture with Kobe Steel, which includes the Hatano plant that has been at the the centre of the latter’s data-falsification scandal.