Another Japan firm admits falsifying data for quake shock absorbers

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TOKYO: A Japanese company supplying equipment to protect buildings from earthquakes has admitted falsifying data, authorities said Tuesday, a week after a Tokyo-based firm revealed a similar fraud.

Kawakin Holdings’ oil damper unit altered data for products installed at 93 education facilities, government buildings and offices, the land ministry said.

“I deeply apologise for causing great concerns and trouble,” Kawakin president Shinkichi Suzuki told reporters.

The ministry has instructed the company to immediately change affected parts and to investigate why the data manipulation happened.

The company will disclose the names of the buildings once owners agree to do so.

The admission comes after Tokyo-based parts maker KYB and its unit Kayaba System Machinery announced it had falsified oil dampers data used in nearly 1,000 buildings across Japan.

Local media reported they may include the Tokyo Skytree — one of the world’s tallest buildings at 634m — as well as the Tokyo local government’s headquarters.

The authorities however stressed there was no immediate safety risk.

So-called oil dampers — or shock absorbers — are part of a complex system fitted in many Japanese buildings as part of the country’s earthquake preparedness.

They are meant to function in tandem with systems built into the foundations to isolate the effects of quakes.

The earthquake systems allow big buildings to sway slightly as they absorb some seismic waves, but if they sway too much or too little, they could suffer damage.

Japan sits at the junction of four tectonic plates and experiences a number of relatively violent quakes every year. Rigid building codes and strict enforcement mean even strong tremors often do little damage.

But dozens of people died after a powerful 6.6-magnitude quake hit northern region of Hokkaido early last month, triggering landslides and collapsing houses.

The data fraud is the latest in a string of quality-control and governance scandals to hit major Japanese businesses in recent years.

In July, Nissan admitted data on exhaust emissions and fuel economy had been deliberately altered, after it was forced to recall some 1.2 million vehicles over a separate data control problem.

An affiliate of Japanese electronics giant Hitachi has admitted falsifying data for 60,000 industrial batteries, while the head of Kobe Steel was forced to resign after the steelmaker submitted false strength and quality data for products shipped to hundreds of clients. — AFP



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