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Kobe Steel loses industrial standards certification for copper products

[TOKYO] Embattled Kobe Steel Ltd said on Thursday a Japanese Industrial Standards (JIS) certificate for some products made at its Hatano plant near Tokyo has been revoked because of data falsification.

The move could hurt its business, which has been already impacted as some customers are switching orders to competitors.

Kobe Steel chairman and chief executive officer Hiroya Kawasaki will hold a news conference at 3pm (0600 GMT) in Tokyo on Thursday to give details as well an update on the data fabrication scandal that has rocked Japan's third-biggest steelmaker.

Kobe Steel had been told by Japan's industry ministry to disclose the results of its safety checks by around Thursday.

Its revelations of widespread tampering in the specifications of its products have sent a chill through global supply chains for cars, trains, airplanes and other equipment.

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Kobe Steel's Hatano copper tube plant south-west of Tokyo has been inspected by a certification company to see whether it has complied with the JIS in terms of quality management systems and product specifications.

"We have been told by the certification company that the JIS H 3300 certificate for copper and copper alloy seamless tubes has been revoked due to improper quality management at the plant," a Kobe Steel spokesman said.

As a result of the revoke, it will be no longer able to sell those products with the JIS label. But they can still be sold without asserting they are JIS-compliant if customers accept it.

Still, customers may switch suppliers or pick Kobe's competitors for future orders, industry specialists said.

Global carmakers, aircraft companies and other manufacturers have scrambled to identify potential hazards in their products because of the falsification, although four Japanese carmakers said last week they have found no safety issues with aluminium parts supplied by Kobe Steel.

The company is now subject to a US Justice Department probe while checks continue at hundreds of its clients involved in complex supply chains spanning the globe.


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