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Kobe Steel reports falsified aluminum, copper product specifications

Kobe Steel Ltd. said Oct. 8 that internal checks found that a portion of its aluminum and copper products were falsely labeled to show that they met the specifications requested by customers.

According to the Japanese company, the incident of "improper conduct" involves about 19,300 tonnes of aluminum products, 19,400 tonnes of aluminum castings and forgings and 2,200 tonnes of copper products shipped from September 2016 to August 2017.

A company spokesman told Reuters that the products were shipped to about 200 companies. Kobe Steel has started contacting the customers to explain the situation while it carries out assessments on the compromised products' quality, particularly relating to safety.

Kobe Steel formed an investigation committee on quality issues, headed by Chairman, President and CEO Hiroya Kawasaki, and commissioned an external law firm for an investigation into the matter. The company spokesman said Kobe Steel is also looking at whether the mislabeling happened before the period of the latest internal audit.

The effect of the falsely labeled products on the company's business remains unclear, but Kobe Steel continues to investigate whether products from its other business units have been compromised.