Made in Japan again in crisis of confidence

   Once upon a time, Japan’s manufacturing has been continuously deified, and its craftsmanship has also amazed the world. However, in recent years, as well-known companies have frequently been exposed as fakes, the myth of “made in Japan” has begun to be shattered, and it has become a phenomenon that cannot be ignored.
   On the afternoon of June 7, the Japanese manufacturing giant Kawasaki Heavy Industries held an online press conference and admitted to the outside world that there were multiple quality inspections on the central air-conditioning refrigerators of the building produced by its subsidiary Kawasaki Cooling and Heating Industry (Kusatsu City, Shiga Prefecture). Some fraudulent behaviors have been going on for nearly 40 years. The misconduct focused on part of Kawasaki’s “absorption chiller” product, which is used in central air-conditioning systems in office buildings and public buildings such as hotels.
   It is reported that the absorption chiller of Chuanzhong Cold and Heat has a domestic share of 19% in Japan. As soon as the news came out, it caused an uproar in Japanese public opinion.
   Kawasaki Heavy Industries stated that the fraudulent behavior mainly includes: in the test run inspection before shipment, fabricated data that has not been measured at all; and when the customer arrives for inspection, the test standard is met by manipulating the measuring instrument. These two fraudulent acts continued from 1984 to this year, a span of 38 years.
   According to the survey, since 1984, the actual measurement data of the trial operation before delivery to customers did not match the benchmark data for 1,950 times. And between 1986 and 2009, the company had 2,944 products that did not meet the Japanese Industrial Standards (JIS standard) standards and pretended to be compliant.
   In addition, Kawasaki Heavy Industries also admitted that some products that have not obtained JIS certification were written as certified in the product introduction, and this behavior has continued for more than 20 years.
   In 2017, Kawasaki Heavy Industries illegally thinned the chassis of the product without authorization, which directly led to the cracking of the bogie of the JR Shinkansen train in Japan, which was considered to have a “major safety hazard”. There are a total of 303 trains using the Japanese JR Shinkansen frame manufactured by Kawasaki Heavy Industries, and 100 of them have substandard steel thickness.
   According to public information, Kawasaki Heavy Industries is an important member of the Japanese military industry, second only to Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, and is the main manufacturer of aircraft and submarines for the Japanese Self-Defense Forces. The registered capital of Kawasaki Heavy Industries Co., Ltd. is 104.328 billion yen, and the group has more than 30,000 employees.
   In May of this year, the Japan Steel Works (JSW) announced that the turbine-related products manufactured by the company had data fraud. As of February this year, the fraud had been going on for 24 years. It is reported that the company has repeatedly tampered with product data that did not meet customer requirements into qualified inspection data before shipping. The Nippon Steel Works has a history of more than 100 years, and provides metal forgings and other products for customers such as nuclear power plants all year round.
   In addition, the Japanese industrial giant Mitsubishi Electric, whose railway vehicle electrical products such as air conditioners and monitors account for 60% of the domestic market share in Japan, revealed in 2021 that its railway vehicle air conditioner inspection was fraudulent. The history of fraud has lasted for 35 years, and the president resigned. Internal investigations revealed that the Nagasaki Plant, a holding company under the company, not only failed to conduct factory quality inspections on the safety and cooling and heating performance of train air conditioners required by customers, but instead attempted to get away with fabricated false data. The factory started repeating similar counterfeiting 35 years ago. As of 2020, as many as 84,600 products involving fraudulent quality inspection data were found at the Nagasaki factory, of which 15,800 were sent to overseas customers.
   In early March this year, Hino Motor, which is controlled by Toyota Motor, admitted to the outside world that the company’s engine data was falsified, including exhaust emissions and fuel consumption. At that time, Hino Motors issued an announcement saying: After an internal investigation by the company, it was found that the factory had a problem of falsifying engine data, which had been going on for many years, affecting as many as 115,000 vehicles.
   In May 2021, some high-speed trains in England were found to have cracks at the bottom of the carriages, and some cracks were even as long as 28.5 cm. The discovery led to widespread outages of high-speed rail in the region. These problematic carriages, which have been in use for only 3 years, are all “Hitachi 800” trains produced by Hitachi, Japan.
   After a five-month investigation, Hitachi admitted that the cracks in the carriages were caused by fraudulent quality inspections, including directly tampering with inspection results, changing inspection conditions, or not conducting inspections in accordance with customer regulations. Moreover, Hitachi’s fraud is not a day or two, but “at least 30 years.”
   In December 2020, a drug produced by Kobayashi Chemical Co., Ltd. was accused of mixing 2.5 times more hypnotic ingredients than the maximum limit, causing damage to the health of more than 200 patients. Subsequent investigations found that about 80% of Kobayashi Chemical’s nearly 500 drugs had fraudulent records, and the fraudulent behavior lasted for 40 years.