You know what I need? I need a vibrator. The President needs a vibrator. Can I get one? No. Can I go into a store and buy one? No! I can’t order one online. I don’t have a credit card anymore. I’m definitely not gonna ask the military valet who attends to my personal items to go and pick one up for me. I can’t ask any staffer, really, because, I mean, think of the political tea the Democrats could spill. The headline… “Staffer forced to purchase sex toys for President Grant.”
From Boeing Co. to Ford Motor Co., companies are scrambling to check any affected products. And Japan Inc. is facing up to another embarrassing scandal.
The admissions have dribbled out, and more may follow. Initially, the company confessed to falsifying data about the strength and durability of some copper and aluminum that was used in cars and trains and possibly planes and a space rocket, too. Then Kobe Steel said it also faked data about iron ore powder and materials used in DVDs and LCD screens. Chief Executive Officer Hiroya Kawasaki said on Oct. 12 more cases could emerge as the company continues its investigations. A day later it flagged misconduct related to more items including steel wire and copper piping, some of which were produced overseas.
The fabrication of data relating to aluminum was found at all four of Kobe Steel’s local plants in conduct the company described as “systematic.” For some items, the practice dated back some 10 years, according to Kobe Steel Executive Vice President Naoto Umehara. The dodgy materials used in bullet trains were supplied over the past five years, according to one customer. Details of how the deception unfolded have yet to fully emerge but the company has said it’ll release the findings of safety checks for the products in about two weeks, and the causes of the issue and planned countermeasures within a month.
There are carmakers such as Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co.; they used the suspect materials in hoods and doors. There’s Boeing, which is examining parts it gets from Kobe Steel customer Subaru Corp. Hitachi Ltd. said trains it has exported to the U.K. contained compromised metal as well as bullet trains in Japan. Central Japan Railway Co., which runs the iconic trains between Tokyo and Osaka, said two types of aluminum parts used to connect cars to wheels fell short in quality tests. West Japan Railway Co. also found sub-standard parts. Ford said it used aluminum from the company in its Mondeo car hoods in China, although it hasn’t confirmed whether the parts were compromised. As yet, no company has flagged any serious safety concern as a result of the compromised products.
CEO Kawasaki is leading a committee to probe the quality issues. He has run Kobe Steel since 2013, overseeing moves to expand the No. 3 Japanese steelmaker’s presence in aluminum. “I deeply apologize for causing concern to many people, including all users and consumers,” Kawasaki said Oct. 12. Kobe Steel is likely to face lawsuits from investors, customers, consumers and regulators in Japan and U.S., experts say.