Former Takata plant shipped 9 million seat belts in Japan with inaccurate data: Nikkei

TOKYO (Reuters) - A former unit of bankrupt airbag maker Takata Corp shipped 9 million seat belts to car companies in Japan with inaccurate test data that could result in around 2 million safety recalls, the Nikkei newspaper reported on Friday.

This week, U.S. automotive component maker Joyson Safety Systems (JSS) said it was investigating inaccuracies in the reporting of belt webbing test data over a 20-year period at the Japanese factory in Hikone it acquired from Takata in 2018. It said the inaccuracies arose before its acquisition.

“We are still investigating the matter and can’t say yet how many seat belts were involved,” an official in charge of recalls at Japan’s transport ministry told Reuters.

The result of the investigation will be shared with transport authorities in other countries, the official added on condition of anonymity as the probe is still ongoing.

A Joyson representative in Japan did not immediately respond to a Reuters request from comment. The Michigan-based firm took over what was left of Takata after it went out of business.

Takata was embroiled in one Japan’s worst corporate scandals in recent years after admitting it fabricated faulty airbag inflators that could explode and send metal shrapnel into vehicle compartments.

The faulty product was linked to numerous deaths and triggered one of the industry’s biggest safety recalls.

Takata in 2017 pleaded guilty to criminal wrongdoing, saying it submitted false inflator test results to automaker clients.

JSS Japan is the top seat belt maker in the country with a market share of about 40%, as well as just under 30% globally, according to Nikkei.

Reporting by Tim Kelly; Editing by Himani Sarkar