Clean Bill of Health Given to Kobelco Aluminium Plant That Supplies Mitsubishi Jet Project

According to Japan’s Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry, its investigators uncovered no further evidence of wrongdoing at an aluminium plant owned and operated by Japanese steel titan Kobe Steel, Ltd. (Kobelco).

This comes as good news for Kobelco, as it has been rocked by a data-falsification scandal over the past several weeks. The scandal first erupted in mid-October after an internal review found misclassified data for about 19,300 short tons of aluminium parts, plus another 19,400 units of aluminium castings and forgings. According to the review, the problem affected materials shipped to over 500 clients.

The government investigation was carried out later that month at Kobe Steel’s Daian plant in Mie in south-central Japan. The plant, which produces aluminium for use in the Mitsubishi Regional Jet, has taken steps to prevent such an incident from occurring again in the future according to investigators.

However, the ministry directed Kobelco to carry out additional measures, including improved training and quality-control procedures, to see to it that there is not a repeat of the data-falsification problems in the future.

“We will swiftly compile an improvement plan and ensure its execution,” confirmed a Kobelco spokesperson to local media.

For its part, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. has already gone on record as indicating that it had no concerns regarding the safety of the aluminium Kobelco has provided thus far.

Mitsubishi reiterated those sentiments on Friday, saying that developmental plans for the first Japanese commercial jet will continue as planned. According to Mitsubishi, the first unit is projected to be delivered in the year 2020.

Kobe Steel Group, also known as Kobelco, was founded in 1905 and is a member of the Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFJ) keiretsu. The firm has been producing aluminium for automotive and aircraft applications for eighty years. Its parent company is a constituent of the Nikkei 225 stock index.

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