Dreamliner troubles put spotlight on Japan battery maker, threaten aviation hopes for industry

TOKYO – The troubles with Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner are drawing an unwelcome spotlight for the Japanese maker of the powerful lithium-ion batteries that have become the focus on investigations into onboard fire risks.

Kyoto, Japan-based GS Yuasa Corp. said it began working Thursday with investigators probing the cause of recent problems with the 787. A leaking battery prompted an All Nippon Airways jet to make an emergency landing Wednesday.

A spokesman for GS Yuasa, Yasushi Yamamoto, said it was unclear if the batteries were the cause of the problems that led aviation regulators in Japan, the U.S., India, Europe and the Middle East to ground the 787s.

The 787 relies far more than older aircraft on electrical systems, and troubles with the batteries could pose a challenge to GS Yuasa’s aerospace aspirations.