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IHI finds over 200 cases of improper inspections of airplane engines

IHI President Tsugio Mitsuoka bows in apology after a press conference in Tokyo on March 8, 2019. (Kyodo)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Heavy machinery maker IHI Corp. said Friday it has found 211 cases of improper inspections of airplane engines over the past two years, including checks by uncertified workers.

The supplier of Boeing Co. and Airbus S.A.S. said a shortage of inspectors and other factors are behind the misconduct that began at the latest in January 2017 at a factory in Tokyo where IHI provides maintenance for around 100 to 150 engines a year.

There are no problems in the capability and performance of the affected engines, according to the company.

IHI became the latest among major Japanese manufacturers embroiled in scandals over improper quality controls of their products. Subaru Corp. and Nissan Motors Co. revealed some of their vehicles had been inspected by unqualified workers, while Kobe Steel Ltd. and Mitsubishi Materials Corp. said they had fabricated product data.

IHI investigated around 40,000 inspection records over the past two years after an on-site inspection by the transport ministry early this year identified some malpractices.

IHI received a whistle-blower report in April last year about possible misconduct in inspecting airplane engines after routine repair and maintenance operations. But the company's probe later concluded there were no misdeeds.

IHI first admitted to the misconduct on Tuesday.

It has also found cases where qualified workers did not follow the prescribed order in conducting maintenance work and where inspectors falsified inspection dates, according to an interim report released Friday.

The transport ministry has ordered eight other companies in the industry to report by early April whether they have found similar cases of misconduct.

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