Checks uncover problems in 813 elevators, so far

Kyodo News

Checks turned up problems, including stretched cables, in 813 of some 260,000 elevators being serviced by five companies in Japan, the infrastructure ministry reported Friday.

Of the problem elevators, five had cables with frayed wires, the Land, Infrastructure and Transport Ministry said. Two are serviced by Hitachi Building Systems Co., another two by Fujitec Co. and one by Toshiba Elevator and Building System Corp.

One of the Hitachi elevators and the Toshiba elevator are located in Osaka, while the other Hitachi lift is in Tokorozawa, Saitama Prefecture, and Fujitec’s are in Tokyo’s Koto Ward and the city of Fukuoka.

Of the 813 elevators with problems, 756 are serviced by Hitachi Building Systems, the industry’s No. 2 company. The firm has begun an investigation into the cause at the request of the ministry.

The cables of 804 of the 813 problem elevators have already been replaced and replacements are under way for the remaining nine, according to the ministry.

The problems were discovered in emergency checks conducted by the five firms, including Toshiba Elevator, Fujitec, Schindler Elevator K.K. and Nippon Elevator Mfg. Co., at the ministry’s direction.

The five firms were told to check their elevators from June to July following a spate of wire fractures found after an elevator run by Nippon Otis Elevator Co. with similar problems caused a fire on April 4 in Tokyo’s landmark Roppongi Hills Mori Tower.

Reports have yet to be made on 503 of the 260,000 elevators. Meanwhile, Nippon Otis Elevator checked all its roughly 50,000 elevators by the end of May, and industry leader Mitsubishi Electric Building Techno-Service Co. is to report on its checks on about 170,000 elevators in the near future.