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Continued fallout at Kobe Steel leads to governance overhaul

Jaclyn Jaeger | March 20, 2018

Kobe Steel’s product quality scandal is far more troubling and widespread than the company originally let on.

In October 2017, Kobe Steel admitted that some employees had falsified inspection data concerning products and parts sold to its top customers, including many automotive and aerospace companies—Ford, GM, Mitsubishi, Toyota, Nissan, Honda, Mazda, Boeing, and Airbus, to name a few. As far back as 2007, Kobe Steel falsified inspection data as if it met customer specifications, or fabricated test data for unmeasured products as if they had been measured.

Such falsified data initially concerned Kobe Steel’s copper and aluminum products, but later engulfed its steel products, as well. From a broader risk and compliance standpoint, Kobe Steel’s actions bring into question the safety and performance of all products with Kobe Steel components, initially believed to have affected 525 global companies.

Once the cover-up was revealed by quality self-inspections on...

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