July 19, 2018 / 8:54 AM / 3 months ago

Kobe Steel says Tokyo prosecutors have indicted company over data tampering scandal

TOKYO (Reuters) - Kobe Steel Ltd, (5406.T) Japan’s third-biggest steelmaker, said on Thursday it has been indicted by prosecutors over a data tampering scandal that shook the company and faith in Japanese manufacturing prowess last year.

FILE PHOTO: The Kobe Steel (Kobelco) headquarters building is seen in Kobe, western Japan October 24, 2017. REUTERS/Thomas White/File Photo - RC1D1931E010

The company has been charged by Tokyo prosecutors for allegedly violating Japan’s Unfair Competition Prevention Act, Kobe Steel said in an emailed statement.

Kobe Steel, which supplies steel and aluminum parts to manufacturers of planes, trains and automobiles around the world, admitted to supplying products with falsified quality specifications to more than 600 customers.

It said the data fraud had been going on for nearly five decades.

“We are taking this matter brought against us very seriously. The entire Kobe Steel Group is working together sincerely and straightforwardly to carry out preventive measures and is making every effort to restore trust,” the statement said.

The scandal, which led to similar revelations from a number of other companies, undermined faith in Japan’s industrial sector. Kobe Steel is also the subject of a probe by the United States Department of Justice.

Reporting by Aaron Sheldrick; Editing by Christian Schmollinger

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