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Japan's IHI finds 7,000 more cases of improper jet engine inspections

Christian Fernsby |
Japan's heavy machinery maker IHI Corp., caught up in the scandal of improper engine parts inspections, suffered another blow on Monday, as it admitted to have uncovered more than 7,000 cases of faulty inspections.

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The company, a supplier of Boeing Co. and Airbus S.A.S., said in a press release that the improper inspections exited in the process of making jet engine parts during the two years through January.

After the company reviewed 1.8 million inspections of engine parts in the two years, 7,138 faulty cases were unveiled, according to local media.

The improper inspections have involved uncertified staff such as trainees, or have not been conducted by inspectors whose names were recorded in documents, according to the Tokyo-based company.

IHI said in the press release that the products involved in the faulty inspections have no technical problems, as they meet the specified size, strength, functions and performance.

The company's investigation was conducted at plants in Soma of the Fukushima Prefecture, Kure of the Hiroshima Prefecture and Mizuho in the suburbs of Tokyo.

Earlier this year, the Japanese transport ministry conducted an on-site check and discovered some malpractices, prompting the company to go over its manufacturing checks.

In March, Japan's Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry reprimanded IHI over improper checks of airplane engines and ordered it to stick to state-approved methods.

The company admitted in early March that it has conducted 211 cases of improper inspections of airplane engines over the past two years.

The corporation released the result of its internal investigation around 40,000 inspection records over the past two years, uncovering improper checks by uncertified workers as well.

According to IHI, workers unqualified to carry out inspections were involved in visual inspections of engine parts for low-cost carriers at a factory in Tokyo that is responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of around 150 airplane engines a year.

It was also found that unqualified workers were using the names of qualified inspectors to sign off on documents they compiled related to the improper inspections.

The corporation said that the misconduct began at the latest in January 2017 at the Tokyo factory due to a shortage of inspectors, among other factors.

IHI admitted to the existence of malpractices in its inspections and released a statement of apology.

"We deeply apologize for causing concern and worries to our stakeholders, including customers and clients," IHI said, although affirming that the unqualified inspections have not led to any disruptions to flights as a result of potentially faulty engines.

IHI is the latest Japanese firm found to have been carrying out improper safety checks or fabricating quality control data.

Automakers Nissan Motors Co. and Subaru Corp. have admitted to inspections being carried out by unqualified staff. Kobe Steel Ltd. and Mitsubishi Materials Corp., meanwhile, have admitted to fabricating data related to their products.

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