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BOJ, Tokyo Station among buildings using suspect quake dampers

247 structures in capital found to have 'unqualified' devices made by KYB, report says

The Bank of Japan's head office in central Tokyo is one of 247 buildings in the capital that include the dampers on which test data was falsified.

TOKYO -- The Bank of Japan's head office, a Tokyo Station building and the international terminal of Haneda Airport are some of the major structures found to be installed with earthquake dampers from producer KYB, which has admitted to falsifying quality test data, according to a Japanese government report.

The report compiled by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism has shed light on the extent of the data falsification by KYB. The Tokyo hydraulic parts maker on Tuesday announced that it had installed products that fail to meet ministry standards at nearly 1,000 properties across Japan.

The dampers are a type of shock absorber that reduces shaking caused by earthquakes.

The government used KYB's report to conclude that there are, in Tokyo alone, 251 buildings that incorporate the suspect quake damper models. Of these, 247 include dampers do not meet the standards, due to not just data tampering but also loss of data used to assess the devices.

Dampers used in the BOJ, Haneda and Tokyo Station buildings were found to be models on which data had been faked, but the ministry said the devices can nevertheless withstand an earthquake of up to around 7 on the Japanese intensity scale.

Concern is now spreading about academic and medical institutions, as well as commercial facilities in Tokyo. The operator of the popular Tokyo Skytree tower has requested an investigation into its anti-quake features using KYB dampers. A building on Tokyo Denki University's Adachi Ward, Tokyo, campus includes the suspect dampers, as are Tokyo Metropolitan Matsuzawa Hospital and Tokyu Department Store in Shibuya Ward, according to the report.

The Tokyo Station building in central Tokyo also includes the suspect dampers, but the government says it can still withstand earthquakes up to 7 on the Japanese scale.   © Reuters

Some of the dampers were judged unqualified because test data on them is too old or no longer exists. They include products installed at the high-rise Roppongi Hills Mori Tower, a large Koto Ward distribution depot of logistics company Nippon Express, and Keio University Hospital. 

Under infrastructure ministry standards, dampers with an antiquake performance indicator diverging over 15% from the standard figure are considered unqualified. Even if a product clears this hurdle, it is still be considered unqualified if it does not meet the conditions in the contract between manufacturer and customer. 

KYB on Wednesday said it will publicly disclose the names of buildings used by large numbers of people which incorporate the unqualified dampers, with consent from related parties, including owners and builders. 

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