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Kobe Steel plants have reportedly shipped substandard products to customers for 40 to 50 years.

Kobe Steel plants faked quality data for decades

Cheating 'manuals' backed systemic fraud under succession of managers

| Japan

TOKYO -- Product quality data was falsified for decades at some Kobe Steel plants in Japan, well beyond the roughly 10-year time frame given by the steelmaker, a source with knowledge of the situation said Monday.

Employees involved in the data manipulation used the industry term tokusai to refer to shipping of products that did not meet the standards requested by customers, the source said. Though tokusai usually refers to voluntary acceptance of such products, plants sometimes sent substandard goods without customers' consent. The word was apparently in use at some plants for 40 to 50 years.

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