Mitsubishi Materials said it had shipped products with falsified inspection data to more than 250 customers. Boeing, which buys jet components from Mitsubishi group companies, said it was reviewing its supply chain.
TOKYO — The president of Mitsubishi Materials apologized Friday for the latest breach of quality standards to rattle corporate Japan after the company said it had falsified inspection data for components it sold to manufacturers of cars, aircraft and industrial equipment.
“I deeply apologize for causing great trouble to many customers and shareholders,” the president, Akira Takeuchi, said at a news conference, bowing deeply alongside other executives.
Mitsubishi Materials said the components it sold, including rubber seals used in aircraft and automobiles, met legally mandated safety standards and were therefore not dangerous. Still, the revelation is a fresh blow to Japan’s reputation for scrupulous high-quality manufacturing after admissions of similarly deceptive practices at Kobe Steel.
Mitsubishi Materials said it had shipped products with falsified inspection data to more than 250 customers. It did not name the customers, but the company’s products are used in a variety of industries. Boeing, which buys jet components from Mitsubishi group companies, said it was reviewing its supply chain.
“The quality and safety of our products are our highest priority,” Boeing said in an emailed statement. “Boeing is aware of media reports and is reviewing the matter, and will take timely and appropriate action as necessary.”
Mitsubishi Materials faces additional scrutiny over the timing of its disclosure. The company said managers at one of three subsidiaries where the deception occurred became aware of the data falsification in February after an internal inspection, but they did not report the issue to superiors at the parent company until October. It took another month for Mitsubishi Materials to acknowledge the problem publicly.
The Japanese minister of trade and industry, Hiroshige Seko, called Mitsubishi Materials’ conduct “a grave matter” and “a betrayal of trust in Japanese manufacturing.” Mitsubishi Materials’ share price tumbled 8 percent Friday.
Manufacturing companies often ask suppliers to produce components to even higher specifications than legally required. Mitsubishi said that when its quality inspections revealed that products fell short of those standards, it sometimes faked inspection data to make it appear as if the products met them.