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Kobe Steel hit with 100 mil. yen fine over data fabrication

This June 5, 2018 photo shows the Kobe Steel Ltd. logo at the company's Tokyo head office. (Kyodo)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- A Japanese court on Wednesday ordered Kobe Steel Ltd. to pay a 100 million yen ($898,000) fine for fabricating product quality data at its domestic plants.

The Tachikawa Summary Court in Tokyo found that three plants of the major steelmaker had sent about 300 falsified product certificates to clients over a year through September 2017 even though the products failed to meet clients' specifications.

Kobe Steel was accused of violating the law preventing unfair competition by fabricating product quality data.

The fine was in line with the amount sought by prosecutors, who claimed during the trial that Kobe Steel "damaged the credibility of made-in-Japan products" by continuing the malpractice for more than 40 years.

The steelmaker's defense team had sought a lenient ruling, arguing the company did not intend to secure improper financial gains through the practice.

The company's report on the data fabrication scandal revealed in March last year that the aluminum and copper products in question had been supplied to over 600 firms at home and abroad and used to manufacture bullet trains and aircraft, among other products.

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