Japan’s corporate image hit by falsification scandal: poll

FILE PHOTO – People cross a street in a business district in Tokyo, Japan, February 16, 2016. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

TOKYO (Reuters) – Almost three-quarters of Japanese firms said the recent data falsification scandal involving KYB Corp, a maker of earthquake shock absorbers, has hurt Japan’s corporate image, a Reuters poll found, although few saw any impact on their businesses.

KYB last month admitted it had falsified data on the quality of some of its quake “dampers” since at least 2003, one of the latest compliance scandals that has shaken confidence in Japan’s manufacturing prowess.

Earlier this month, Hitachi Chemical Co said it found improper tests were conducted on nearly 30 more products, after Kobe Steel Ltd and Toray Industries Inc admitted data falsification or other types of misconduct.

These cases have “badly damaged the value of ‘Made in Japan,’” a manager of a machinery maker wrote in the Reuters Corporate Survey, which found 71 percent of companies believed the KYB scandal would tarnish Japan’s reputation.

“Companies have lost their pride during the ‘Lost Two Decades,’” another machinery maker manager said, referring to the economic slump Japan endured after the collapse of the 1980s Bubble Economy.

However, when asked if the KYB scandal would affect their own business, 94 percent said it wouldn’t.

Just 5 percent said they planned to take steps in reaction to the scandal, while 16 percent said they would wait and see. The rest said they didn’t plan to take any steps.

Companies responded anonymously to the survey, conducted for Reuters by Nikkei Research. It polled 482 large and mid-sized non-financial firms, about 240 of which responded to the questions on KYB’s scandals during the Oct. 24-Nov. 5 period.

Reporting by Tetsushi Kajimoto; Editing by Malcolm Foster and Sam Holmes

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