US authorities request details in Kobe Steel scandal

Japan's Kobe Steel said it would cooperate with US authorities, several days after it announced that about 500 customers were affected.
Japan's Kobe Steel said it would cooperate with US authorities, several days after it announced that about 500 customers were affected.PHOTO: REUTERS

TOKYO (AFP) - Japan's Kobe Steel said on Tuesday (Oct 17) it has received a request from the US Department of Justice for information linked to a snowballing fake data scandal that has hammered its reputation and share price.

The company - which has admitted falsifying strength and quality data for a string of products - said it would cooperate with US authorities, several days after it announced that about 500 customers were affected - more than twice as many as initially thought.

We have "received a document from the US judicial administrative authority requesting the production of documents related to non-conformity with the specification of products sold ... to US customers," it said a statement.

"The company and its subsidiaries will sincerely cooperate with the investigation."

Kobe Steel added that it was "unclear at this time" how the crisis would affect its business.

"The company plans to make another announcement when the extent of the impact becomes clear," it said.

The scandal - especially embarrassing for a venerable firm that once employed Prime Minister Shinzo Abe - has already hit wide sections of Japanese industry, including automakers Toyota, Nissan and Honda which used the affected materials in their vehicles.

In Tokyo on Tuesday Kobe Steel rose 3.14 per cent to 853 yen, rebounding for a second day after the stock lost more than 40 per cent of its value since the start of last week in the wake of the data scandal.