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Safety Data Falsified By Japanese Plane Seat Maker

Seats On 1,000 Boeing, Airbus Aircraft Affected

The Japanese company Koito Industries admitted Monday that it has falsified safety data on as many as 150,000 airliner seats used by 32 different carriers. But the Japanese Transport Ministry says there is no reason for the planes to be grounded.

The international news service AFP reports that the manufacturer left out part of a test process on new seats, and used data from earlier tests. The Transport Ministry said the falsification could have begun as early as the 1990's.  The ministry ordered the company, which is the largest airline seat maker in Japan, to re-test its products to assure their safety.

"I deeply apologize," company president Takashi Kakegawa told a news conference late Monday. "The whole section in charge was systematically involved in it," he said. "We did wrongdoing on concerns that we would delay our delivery if we failed in tests."

The company is a subsidiary of Koito Manufacturing, which makes parts for Toyota.  The troubled Japanese automaker reportedly has no stake in the company.

In all, the seats may be installed on as many as 1,000 aircraft manufactured by Airbus and Boeing, including 300 airplanes belonging to Japan's two largest carriers.

FMI: www.koito.co.jp/english/f_index.html

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