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The Nikkei View

Japan's manufacturers must rebuild their damaged reputations

Quality control scandals have cost the industry decades of hard-won trust

Clockwise from top left: apologies by Kobe Steel, Subaru, Mitsubishi Materials and Nissan Motor executives

The trust that Japan's manufacturing industry has spent decades building up is being eroded. Shortcomings in quality control exposed at Kobe Steel and Nissan Motor have now been found at subsidiaries of Mitsubishi Materials and Toray Industries. Japanese manufacturers cannot hope to regain the trust they have lost unless the causes of these scandals are rooted out.

Group companies of Kobe Steel, Mitsubishi Materials and Toray, all manufacturers of industrial materials, were found to have tampered with data to falsely indicate that products they shipped to corporate customers met agreed-upon quality standards. In business, it is sometimes possible to deliver products that fall short of the promised specifications, provided that clients are informed and agree to accept them. That was not the case here.

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