Kobe Steel's Hatano plant to lose all JIS certifications: Nikkei

By Reuters
November 15,2017
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FILE PHOTO: The logo of Kobe Steel (Kobelco) is seen at the company headquarters in Kobe, western Japan October 24, 2017. REUTERS/Thomas White/File Photo

TOKYO (Reuters) - A Kobe Steel plant, which is at the center of a data falsification scandal that has roiled supply chains around the world, has been stripped of all its industrial quality certifications, Japan's government said on Wednesday.

The government-sanctioned seal on insulated copper tubing from Kobe's Hatano plant was revoked after an investigation by a certification firm into its quality controls, Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said in a statement.

The plant, located southwest of Tokyo, has also lost its ISO 9001 quality certificate from the International Standards Organization, Japan Quality Assurance Organization said.

Earlier, the plant's Japan Industrial Standards (JIS) seal for its seamless copper pipe products was removed, as part of the fallout of one of Japan's biggest industrial scandals.

Japan's third-largest steelmaker, which supplies producers of cars, planes, trains and other products across the world, said last month that about 500 of its customers had received products with falsified specifications.

The company is planning to make a statement on the standards revocation at 0730 GMT, a Kobe Steel spokesperson said when contacted by Reuters.

Having the quality seals revoked means the company can no longer sell the products with the JIS label, potentially restricting the number of customers that can buy them.

Japanese manufacturing prowess has taken a hit in recent weeks due to the Kobe Steel scandal and news of improper final domestic inspection procedures at Nissan Motor.

Nissan said earlier on Wednesday it had been informed that the ISO 9001 certification of its plants and those of affiliate Nissan Shatai  had been revoked for production of Japan-bound vehicles.

JIS-certified products account for about 40 percent of Hatano's sales by weight, Kobe Steel said.

Kobe Steel has an extensive role in global supply chains. It produces engine valve springs found in half the world's cars, according to its website.

Kobe shares have plunged nearly a quarter since news of the data tampering in early October. They fell 4 percent on Wednesday, versus a 1.6 percent drop in the Nikkei 225.

(Reporting by Yuka Obayashi; Writing by Aaron Sheldrick; Editing by Chang-Ran Kim and Himani Sarkar)