Japan orders maker to fix questionable quake shock absorbers

Published 10-19-2018

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TOKYO (AP) - The Japanese government on Friday ordered a company that falsified quality data for earthquake "shock absorbers" used in hundreds of buildings to speed up an investigation and fix any problems quickly.

KYB Corp. said this week that it and a subsidiary had been faking data on the equipment designed to absorb quake shakings since the early 2000s. The materials allegedly were used in some venues for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, including a swimming pool that is under construction, and the Tokyo Skytree, the city's landmark 634-meter (2,080-foot)-high broadcast tower.

It's the latest in a slew of data manipulation cases at automakers, steel makers and other manufacturers that have tarnished Japan's reputation for honest craftsmanship.

The construction minister and experts said the false data do not mean the buildings equipped with the shock absorbers would fail.

KYB on Friday identified only 70 central and local government offices that were among nearly 1,000 affected facilities. Those were the only facilities that had given permission to be identified publicly, KYB executive Keisuke Saito told reporters in a news conference at the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transportation.

The ministry was among the buildings identified as one of 11 sites whose quake-absorbing equipment failed to meet government quality standards. A fire station in Aomori in northern Japan, the Aichi prefectural government building in central Japan and prefectural buildings in Osaka and Kobe were also on that list.

"We are so sorry for our inappropriate actions," Saito said.

KYB said another 17 local government buildings had failed to meet higher standards set by the building owners, while the status of 42 others, including the Finance Ministry building in downtown Tokyo, was not known.

The Skytree said its inspection found no safety problems involving the KYB equipment used in the structure.

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"We are so sorry for our inappropriate actions," Saito said.

KYB said another 17 local government buildings had failed to meet higher standards set by the building owners, while the status of 42 others, including the Finance Ministry building in downtown Tokyo, was not known.

The Skytree said its inspection found no safety problems involving the KYB equipment used in the structure.

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Follow Mari Yamaguchi on Twitter at https://twitter.com/mariyamaguchi

The Skytree said its inspection found no safety problems involving the KYB equipment used in the structure.

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Follow Mari Yamaguchi on Twitter at https://twitter.com/mariyamaguchi

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KYB Corp. Senior Managing Executive Officer Keisuke Saito, right, speaks during a press conference in Tokyo Friday, Oct. 19, 2018. The Japanese government has ordered the company that falsified quality data for earthquake "shock absorbers" used in hundreds of buildings to speed up an investigation and fix any problems quickly. (Yu Nakajima/Kyodo News via AP) - The Associated Press


KYB Corp. Senior Managing Executive Officer Keisuke Saito, right and its affiliated firm Kayaba System Machinery Co., Ltd. President Shigeki Hirokado attend a press conference in Tokyo Friday, Oct. 19, 2018. The Japanese government has ordered the company that falsified quality data for earthquake "shock absorbers" used in hundreds of buildings to speed up an investigation and fix any problems quickly. (Yu Nakajima/Kyodo News via AP) - The Associated Press


KYB Corp. Senior Managing Executive Officer Keisuke Saito, right, and its affiliated firm Kayaba System Machinery Co., Ltd. President Shigeki Hirokado attend a press conference in Tokyo Friday, Oct. 19, 2018. The Japanese government has ordered the company that falsified quality data for earthquake "shock absorbers" used in hundreds of buildings to speed up an investigation and fix any problems quickly. (Yu Nakajima/Kyodo News via AP) - The Associated Press


KYB Corp. Senior Managing Executive Officer Keisuke Saito, right and its affiliated firm Kayaba System Machinery Co., Ltd. President Shigeki Hirokado bow in apology during a press conference in Tokyo Friday, Oct. 19, 2018. The Japanese government has ordered the company that falsified quality data for earthquake "shock absorbers" used in hundreds of buildings to speed up an investigation and fix any problems quickly. (Yu Nakajima/Kyodo News via AP) - The Associated Press