Japan's third-largest steelmaker is in crisis mode as a ballooning scandal over the quality of its products throws into question the safety of countless products from cars to space rockets. Ryan Brooks reports.
A pillar of the Japanese economy in a deepening crisis. The president of Kobe Steel bowing low for the media on Thursday (October 12), apologizing for a ballooning scandal after it emerged that the company lied about safety data in materials used to make countless products from cars to space rockets. "To all users, consumers, who are our customers, to all members of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, we deeply apologise for the distrust and concern we have caused," said President Hiroya Kawasaki at a press conference on Thursday. It's yet another blow to Japan's reputation for quality after a parade of data scandals from the likes of Mitsubishi, Nissan, and Takata. Kobe, which is the country's third-largest steel maker, has admitted to 70 cases of falsified data on optic disks and LCDs on top of earlier news that it found problems with aluminum and copper sold to hundreds of companies. The scandal has set off a safety scare around the world. Ford and Boeing now among those looking into whether they used sub-par products from Kobe and what that could mean for the safety of their products. Kobe's share price has taken a hammering in recent days. The scandal already wiping more than one and a half billion dollars off its market value, and analysts say it could also have to pay the costs of recalls and lawsuits. Japanese officials have given Kobe two weeks to report new safety checks and a month to explain why it fudged the numbers. The company says its looking into skewed records going back a decade, and an external investigation is also underway.