Kobe Steel says profit preoccupation led to fraud

Jiji PressTOKYO (Jiji Press) — Kobe Steel Ltd. released on Friday an internal investigation report on its falsification of product quality data, suggesting that its plant workers’ preoccupation with profitability lay behind the misconduct.

The company admitted in the report that such mind-sets had led to priority being put on product delivery deadlines and production targets.

It also listed measures to prevent similar irregularities, including the launch of a new division for quality checks at the company headquarters in January and the introduction of a system to record product inspection data automatically.

“We’re sorry for causing great inconvenience to many people by inappropriate behavior,” Kobe Steel Chairman and President Hiroya Kawasaki told a press conference in Tokyo.

Kawasaki said the company will consider preventive measures again after receiving an investigation report that a team of external lawyers is expected to submit in December.

The management will judge its responsibility for the scandal at an “appropriate time” after compiling the final report on the cause of the data fraud and preventive measures, he said.

In the latest report, Kobe Steel stressed that the management’s inability to respond to the widespread and longstanding misconduct was a big problem.

Kawasaki said he cannot complain if the data falsification is regarded as organizational misconduct.

The report saw as a problem the company’s internal culture of making light of contracts with customers and stressed the need to change workers’ mentality and the organizational structure.Speech

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