Steel data falsification scandal spreading through Japanese industry

|By:, SA News Editor

A scandal has erupted beyond company borders in Japan over false data supplied by Kobe Steel (OTCPK:KBSTY) over the strength and durability of its products used in some mission-critical applications indeed -- in cars, aircraft and perhaps a rocket.

Shares were untraded in Tokyo; ADRs had fallen 10.5% Monday.

The falsification was intended to make metals look like they met clients' quality standards. Toyota (NYSE:TM), Honda (NYSE:HMC) and Subaru (OTCPK:FUJHY) all said they used materials from Kobe Steel that were subject to such falsification. Boeing (NYSE:BA) gets some parts from Subaru but says nothing so far has raised safety concerns.

Kobe Steel has acknowledged shipping products (which include copper and aluminum products) to more than 200 customers but didn't disclose their names.

Other top customers by revenue: Shinsho Corp., Mitsubishi (OTCPK:MSBHY), General Motors (NYSE:GM), Ford Motor (NYSE:F), Nissan Motor (OTCPK:NSANY).

“We are rapidly working to identify which vehicle models might be subject to this situation and what components were used,” Toyota spokesman Takashi Ogawa said. “We recognize that this breach of compliance principles on the part of a supplier is a grave issue.”

Meanwhile, competing Japanese aluminum makers are gaining. UACJ (OTC:UACJF) is up 3.2% in Tokyo; Nippon Light Metal Holdings (OTC:NPPMF) is up 3.6%; Daiki Aluminium Industry is up 3.7%.