TOKYO (AP) – Japanese prosecutors accused major steel producer Kobe Steel on Thursday of violating laws that override competition in a massive fake of product data.
apologized for the practice, said in a statement that he took the accusations seriously and worked to prevent a recurrence.
"We apologize again," it said, without going into concrete charges. "The entire Kobe Steel Group works sincerely together."
The systematic misconduct took years and involved products shipped to more than 680 companies, including cast aluminum and copper pipes for cars, planes, equipment and trains.
The scandal that surfaced last year triggered a class action lawsuit and investigation in the US
Kobe Steel has stated that an eager pursuit of profit, unrealistic goals, and an isolated corporate culture are behind the scandal.
There were no reports of accidents or injuries related to the counterfeit data.
No charges have been filed against individuals, although the company has stated that managers who knew about the misconduct deliberately peeled away.
The systematic falsification of data, according to the prosecutors and the company in various companies throughout Japan. Kobe Steel launched an internal investigation and released the results earlier this year.
The scandal was a great embarrassment to a famous brand in a nation built on quality "Monozukuri", a term that compares manufacturing with a craft or science] Kobe Steel has promised that every employee " the roots of Monozukuri "will return to win back the trust.
If found guilty in court, the company can be punished. It is not clear how much.
The CEO of Kobe Steel and several other executives resigned because of the scandal. Some managers made wage cuts.
Other leading Japanese brands, including Nissan Motor Co., have had quality defects. Nissan admitted that illegal vehicle inspections had been taking place in his plants in Japan for years.
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