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Tokyo 2020 Olympics venues linked to earthquake safety data scandal

Tokyo 2020 Olympics venues linked to earthquake safety data scandal

TOKYO (CNN) - A major Japanese hydraulics company has admitted to doctoring earthquake safety data for buildings across the country, including some venues for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Tokyo-based KYB and a subsidiary admitted to routinely doctoring data for hydraulic oil dampers used to reduce shaking during earthquakes -- a pertinent concern in super seismic Japan -- but said there were no immediate safety concerns.

KYB released an incomplete list of affected buildings Friday, after local media reported several Olympic venues used the faulty products, including the 634 meter (2,030 ft) Tokyo Skytree, the Ariake Arena and the Olympics Aquatics Center.

In a statement, Tokyo 2020 said it had been informed by the local government "that some of (KYB's) products have been equipped at the Olympic Aquatics Centre and that it (was) planned to install them at Ariake Arena."

The government has ordered an inspection into the KYB products to find out if they are up to standard, the statement added.

KYB only named 70 affected buildings, saying it did not receive permission from hundreds of other properties which are believed to have been affected by the scandal. Earlier, KYB said at least eight employees had fudged data to save time and avoid delays in delivery, adding that all affected products would be replaced.

Osaka Governor Ichiro Matsui blasted KYB for installing "defective products" and said the scandal "shows a decline in corporate ethics."

Speaking to reporters Thursday, Matsui added it was "frightening that there is such an atmosphere" within the company that it would tamper with safety data in pursuit of greater profits, and that he wanted the company to "recognize that data falsification could put people's lives at risk."

In a statement, Japan's Land Ministry said the problem stretched back as far as March 2000, with 986 structures, including apartment blocks, office buildings, hospitals, and government buildings so far identified as using the KYB hydraulics.

The ministry said affected buildings would still be able to withstand quakes up to 7 on the Japanese Meteorological Agency's (JMA) seismic intensity scale, which measures the perceivable effects of earthquakes rather than the energy released (as the Richter scale does).

At that level, the agency said, "it is impossible to remain standing or move without crawling (and) people may be thrown through the air." Buildings without sufficient earthquake resistance are "more likely to collapse" as pillars at ground level disintegrate due to the extreme shaking.

Last month, at least 39 people died after a magnitude 6.7 earthquake hit the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido, collapsing some structures and sparking landslides. The quake measured 7 on the JMA scale, according to local media.

Japan sits along the Ring of Fire, a 40,000 kilometer (25,000 mile), earthquake and volcano-prone arc which spans the boundary of the Pacific tectonic plate with smaller plates such as the Philippine Sea plate, and the Cocos and Nazca Plates which line the edge of the Pacific Ocean.

The KYB scandal is only the latest example of corner cutting and data fudging by Japanese firms. Last year, industrial giant Kobe Steel admitted it falsified information on products sold to major brands including Boeing and Toyota, while care maker Nissan had to halt production after problems in its inspection process emerged.

Some experts say Japanese firms are too willing to sacrifice standards in order to grow market share and profits. That's a particular challenge in their domestic economy, which has struggled for decades with sputtering growth and falling prices.

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Eddie Jones: On the ropes, but England coach up for World Cup 'sparring'

Eddie Jones: On the ropes, but England coach up for World Cup 'sparring'

(CNN) - He's on the ropes with more problems mounting, but embattled England rugby coach Eddie Jones insists his blueprint for World Cup success is still sound.

England takes on the might of South Africa, double world champions New Zealand and Australia, plus Japan, in November, but Jones' struggling side has been hit hard by the loss of what he claims is "320 caps" worth of experience, mainly through injury.

With the World Cup in Japan fewer than 12 months away, Jones describes the autumn series as just "sparring," but after a string of poor results this season he acknowledges he could be out of a job if they lose all four matches.

"We don't need to win any of them, but if we don't win any of them I probably not going to be here so we need to win a few," the jovial Jones told a small group of reporters at English rugby's headquarters at Twickenham in southwest London.

The combative Australian seems to relish the heat focused on him and insists the raft of injuries -- with up to 16 top-flight players unavailable -- is actually a "fantastic opportunity."

"What I know about the World Cup, and I'm lucky enough this will be my fourth, is that the only time you need to be at your best is at the World Cup. Leading up to it is sparring, it's practice rounds, it's getting combinations right."

The under fire Jones received a grilling from English rugby bosses, the RFU, following the 2-1 series defeat in South Africa in the summer on the back of a fifth place finish in last season's Six Nations.

But, having signed a two-year contract extension at the start of the year, he was given their provisional backing to guide the side to the World Cup, and he insists England are on the right track.

"The most important thing is to know where you want to go, and we know where we want to go," says Jones, who coached Australia to the 2003 World Cup final against England and was also at the helm for minnow Japan's famous win against South Africa in the 2015 World Cup pool stages.

"We've got a team to win the World Cup. Now we need out best players available and we need them fit and we need them united and I think we've got the right leadership team to do that."

The much-traveled Jones took the job following England's disastrous 2015 World Cup campaign and quickly reversed the side's fortunes. England won its first 17 matches under Jones' guidance.

However, following successive Six Nations titles, England slumped this year and lost six of its last seven games including five in a row.

It's hardly textbook preparation for a successful World Cup campaign, but Jones highlights South Africa's stuttering build up before its 2007 world title -- in which he played a significant part as assistant coach.

He cites South Africa's disastrous European tour in the build-up, coach Jake White on the brink of being sacked, and a singular win in the Tri-Nations of that year. In its first match at the World Cup in France, South Africa beat world champions England 36-0 and "didn't look back," according to Jones.

"Of course we want to win every game but the reality is that sometimes you're not [going to]," he says.

"But what's important is we keep moving forward and sometimes the scoreboard doesn't tell you you're moving forward.

"If they come and tap me on the shoulder tomorrow and say you're not in the job so be it. My job is to maximize what I have. That's all I can do. All I want to do is coach this team well, that's all I worry about."

'Caps don't grow on trees'

Jones will take his 36-man squad to a training camp in Portugal next week before returning ahead of the South Africa match on November 3 at Twickenham.

It will offer Jones and his coaching team the chance to assess the fitness of certain returning players and test out combinations and ways of working around the injury black hole.

Among the key players out injured are prop Mako Vunipola, number eight Billy Vunipola, former captain Chris Robshaw, lock Joe Launchbury and backs Jonathan Joseph and Anthony Watson.

Another number eight contender Nathan Hughes is also out after receiving a six-week ban for punching an opponent, while prop Joe Marler unexpectedly retired last month.

"We've got 320 caps missing, of which 80 percent is in the forwards. That's a third of a winning World Cup side," he says. "Caps don't grow on trees but I know the situation and you've just got to make it work."

'Galvanize the team'

One of Jones' ploys is to appoint co-captains in Dylan Hartley and Owen Farrell, insisting the role in England is almost too big for one person given the media attention.

When quizzed on how having two captains might work practically, Jones harked back to his first Wallabies side as coach when John Eales was captain and George Gregan vice-captain.

"Who spoke to the referee more? George Gregan," said Jones. "Who was more influential in the team? George Gregan. Who was one of the greatest captains of all time? John Eales. The combination of those two together was enormously powerful. And I see that in Owen and Dylan being able to create that same leadership power of being able to galvanize the team on the field and off the field.

"That's so important for us. We'll use it in November and if we think it's right going forward, which I believe it will be, we'll take it right through to the World Cup."

Jones accepts the injuries, the slump in form, the criticism and the second-guessing of his decisions -- such as his continued omission of fly half Danny Cipriani, one of English Premiership's standout players this season -- comes with the territory.

But he also knows the ultimate proof will be in England's World Cup performance next year.

"These are the cards I've been dealt. I've just got to make it work," he says.

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