TOKYO – Four people have filed a lawsuit against Kobe Steel in Canada after buying products made by the company as well as cars using its components.
This is the first lawsuit against the Japanese steel manufacturer linked to the data falsification scandal.
Three men and one woman from British Columbia and Ontario took Kobe Steel and five of its subsidiaries to court, arguing that they paid unreasonably high prices for the products which did not meet specifications compared to others that did, causing economic losses, the company said in a statement.
The five subsidiaries are Shinko Metal Products, Shinko Aluminum Wire, Kobelco & Materials Copper Tube, Nippon Koshuha Steel and stainless steel wire manufacturer, Shinko Wire Company.
The plaintiffs are demanding unspecified damages and have asked that a collective lawsuit be filed, said Kobe Steel, adding that similar lawsuits could be filed against the company in the future.
In October, Kobe Steel revealed that the technical data of around 20 of its aluminum, copper and iron products as well as iron filings and materials used in the production of liquid crystal displays and optical disks, had been falsified.
Kobe Steel employees altered inspection certificates so that it seemed the technical data of the products met specifications required by customers when they did not or failed to carry out required product checks.
The company sent the products to 525 companies, out of which 496 have certified that the products made by the company are safe, the Japanese steel manufacturer said Friday.
Among the companies that received the products are Japanese automakers including Toyota, Nissan, Honda, Mazda and American ones such as General Motors and Ford, in addition to companies from sectors ranging from aeronautical to rail and military.
The United States Department of Justice has asked the Japanese company’s US subsidiary, Kobe Steel USA, to submit documents related to the falsification, whose economic impact is still unknown.