Recently in the news here there has been a big problem. Some companies built about 100 or so condos (or "mansions" as they call it here) and some business hotels in the Tokyo/Yokohama areas (I think they are slowly finding more in other prefectures, it's just a matter of time...) but cut safety corners (girders and beams were lessened) in order to cut costs.
It seems that all the parties involved did their share to cut corners in order to get a quick buck and more business (because they were fast and cheap). One party altered the data that they needed in order to draw up the blueprints for the building. And one party also used false data to submit to the people who actually build the buildings, inspections of the building after completion were also "overlooked" but submitted to the government as passing inspection.
A lot of firms were pressured to falsify data or be passed up for new business. (I, myself would have let them pass me, after all, how can you knowingly put another's life in danger with something that you were responsible to build safely!) Can you believe that they were actually waiting for a natural disaster to happen so that the fact that they faked the data would never be revealed? Unbelievable and outrageous!!
Most residents got suspicious because there have been a number of "small" earthquakes in the Tokyo/Yokohama areas recently but their condos have really swayed and have shown signs of cracks! I'm not too familiar with the building codes here, but after the Great Awaji-Hanshin Earthquake in 1995, I think most buildings built from 1996 on have to be able to withstand a 7-point something size earthquake. Anyway, all the companies involved are pointing their fingers at each other and also trying to put the blame on the government.
The victims in this whole mess are the people who bought the condos...they are now stuck with a 30-year loan (some just moved in!!) and no where to live (a lot have started to move out of their condos for fear of safety). One company involved says they will take care of these loans and give back 106% to the people who bought the condos...the catch: if this company files for bankruptcy, all deals are off...which leaves the people in the same predicament--a 30-year loan and no where to live...sigh. As if there aren't enough things to worry about, yeah?