Japan’s steelmakers in rare sweet spot, but Kobe Steel may miss out

Japan’s steelmakers are in the midst of the best market conditions in at least three years as steel prices rise with construction in full swing for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo and automakers boosting production. But the country’s third-biggest steelmaker, Kobe Steel Ltd , is likely to be left out as it struggles to cope with one of Japan’s biggest industrial scandals, involving widespread cheating on product specifications. The company says it has lost customers and analysts say more could cancel contracts after a seal of industrial quality was revoked last week.