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Daiwa House finds defects in over 2,000 of its buildings

A grim-faced Kazuto Tsuchida, senior managing executive officer of Daiwa House Industry Co., speaks at a news conference in Osaka's Chuo Ward on April 12, 2019. (Mainichi/Kenji Ikai)

OSAKA -- Daiwa House Industry Co. said defects have been found at more than 2,000 structures it has built across the country that could constitute a violation of the Building Standards Act and other laws.

About 7,000 households live in these structures, of which fireproof measures were insufficient among 73 of them in the Tokyo metropolitan area, such as a lack of fire-resistant coating materials.

The Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry has instructed the Osaka-based company to provide a thorough explanation to the owners of these houses and aim to repair all the 73 structures by mid-April.

It earlier came to light that many apartment complexes managed by Leopalace21 Corp. were defective. The latest revelations will deepen the public's distrust in the housing industry.

Kazuto Tsuchida, senior managing executive officer of Daiwa House, said the company deeply apologizes for the problem in a press conference held in the western city of Osaka.

Although the firm was alerted by a whistleblower about the defects in December 2016, it was not until July 2018 that the company set up a fact-finding panel to launch a full-scale investigation into the matter. The company will likely come under fire for the delay in its response to the problem.

According to the announcement on April 12, work on columns at 200 apartment buildings in the metropolitan area that were handed over to their owners between 2001 and 2010 were different from their original designs. Specifically, columns supporting the second-floor corridors were installed in a different manner from that specified in their initial designs.

Of these houses, the company failed to take fireproof measures, such as coating their columns with fire-resistant materials, at 73 structures in Tokyo and three eastern Japan prefectures of Kanagawa, Saitama and Chiba.

Daiwa House is poised to spend approximately 100 million yen to repair these defective structures. Company officials have explained that residents can continue to live in their apartments even during the repair work.

Moreover, the foundations for 1,878 structures across the country -- apartment complexes and detached houses -- have been found to be defective. Independent foundations that support columns of these buildings were higher than designed. Among these structures, nine of them have been deemed particularly weak, but a third-party organization that examined these structures has concluded that they are sufficiently quake-resistant.

Daiwa House will examine all these structures by the end of June.

(Japanese original by Yuichi Utsunomiya, Business News Department)

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