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Posted on : Jun 29, 2018

Hitachi Chemical Co. announced on June 29 that it had found data falsification in quality inspections of lead-acid batteries for industrial use over a period of more than seven years, affecting some 60,000 products shipped to roughly 500 companies.

The chemical giant, a subsidiary of Hitachi Ltd., said the finding raises no quality or safety concerns for the products involved. The irregularities date back to at least April 2011 and continued up until this month, the company said.

"We apologize for causing tremendous trouble to those concerned," said Hitachi Chemical President Hisashi Maruyama at a press conference in Tokyo. The firm will set up a special fact-finding committee comprising lawyers and other experts as early as the beginning of next week and will release the results of the investigation in about two to three months. Maruyama also reported the findings to Hitachi Ltd. Chairman Hiroaki Nakanishi, who presides over the Japan Business Federation, commonly known as Keidanren.

The batteries in question were produced at the company's Nabari Works factory in Nabari, Mie Prefecture, for use in buildings, factories and nuclear power plants as emergency power sources. During the inspections, the company employed a method different from the one prearranged with its clients, and entered falsified data in its documents submitted to the clients.

A former head of Nabari Works received a report on the irregularities from the quality assurance chief in November last year, but failed to report them to the company's management team. After the current Nabari Works chief took office, the quality assurance chief once again disclosed the irregularities in May this year, and the Nabari Works chief relayed the facts to the company headquarters in June.

Questions were raised about whether the company deliberately withheld the information on the data falsification until June 29 as Nakanishi had been tapped to become the next Japan Business Federation chairman in November last year. Hitachi Chemical President Maruyama has indicated that this will be investigated by an external panel.

Source: Mainichi Shimbun

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