TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Prosecutors on Thursday indicted Kobe Steel on suspicion of violating a law preventing unfair competition by fabricating product quality data.
According to the indictment, the major steelmaker altered data for products produced at three plants -- ones in Tochigi, Yamaguchi, and Mie prefectures -- to meet clients' specifications.
It sent certificates to clients between September 2016 and September 2017 attesting to the quality of products which in fact failed to meet the stipulated standards.
The police and prosecutors last month searched the Kobe Steel headquarters in Tokyo and Kobe as well as other locations to search for evidence and to question employees including plant officials.
Kobe Steel has admitted to fabricating inspection data for aluminum and copper products supplied to over 600 companies at home and abroad.
According to a company report released in March, data on product strength and other aspects was altered at 23 domestic and overseas plants, with the fabrication at the Tochigi plant dating back to the 1970s or earlier.