×

UPDATE 1-Kobe Steel plant that supplied plane components being checked

(Adds comment, background)

TOKYO, Oct 24 (Reuters) - Japanese authorities are conducting safety checks at a Kobe Steel Ltd aluminium plant that supplied components for a domestically built passenger aircraft, the transport minister said on Tuesday.

Kobe Steel's revelations of widespread tampering in the specifications of its products have sent a chill through global supply chains for cars, trains, airplanes and other equipment. While no safety issues have been identified, the company is the subject of a U.S. Department of Justice inquiry and has said it is losing customers.

The inspection of Kobe Steel's Daian plant west of Tokyo was focusing on the safety of components being used in Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ) passenger aircraft being developed by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd, Transport Minister Keiichi Ishii told reporters.

"As a country of design and manufacturing, we have an unmistakable commitment to safety," Ishii said. "We want to be absolutely sure of product safety as the MRJ heads towards mass production."

The repeatedly delayed MRJ is central to the Japanese government's plans to revive an aerospace industry dismantled after World War Two. The aircraft has yet to enter service.

Products with fabricated data have been used in the aircraft, a spokeswoman for Mitsubishi Heavy said on Tuesday, adding no safety issues have been found. There is no impact on testing schedules for the MRJ, she said.

Kobe Steel sank deeper into crisis on Friday when said it had lost some customers to competitors because of the widespread cheating.

It is also being inspected over whether it breached statutory industrial standards.

Kobe Steel shares, which have fallen about 36 percent since the scandal broke, were up 1.6 percent by the end of morning trade in Tokyo. The Nikkei 222 was up 0.1 percent. (Reporting by Sam Nussey; Writing by Aaron Sheldrick; Editing by Stephen Coates and Raju Gopalakrishnan)