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The March 11th earthquake and tsunami in Japan hit Honda hard, as production was down for weeks and the automaker's research and development center was badly damaged. In fact, the quake damaged the Tochigi facility so badly that one employee died and 17 others were injured after a cafeteria wall collapsed.

Due to the fact that many roads were closed or badly damaged, getting to the facility was a challenge. But that didn't stop Honda CEO Takanobu Ito from visiting the site in person to assess the damage. The Wall Street Journal reports that Ito hopped on his stripped-down, 1,100cc Honda CB1100 and headed to the site only two days after the incident. The 57-year-old CEO and his trusty bike were able travel where few autos could go, and he made it all the way to the Tochigi facility to witness the damage for himself.

The Tochigi facilities are very important to Honda as they are the company's main research and development centers. The automaker was forced to relocate 1,000 of its engineers to other facilities, but the damaged buildings still house another 500 workers. Ito adds that the automaker will rebuild at the site because it "is a place where all Honda's brains are gathered."

The fact that Ito risked his own safety to check on the welfare of his engineers has no doubt boosted his credibility among Honda employees. And it likely doesn't hurt that he got there on the back of a Honda sport bike. Nicely done, sir.

[Source: Wall Street Journal | Image: Kazuhiro Nogi/Getty]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      Most CEOs would probably take a helicopter instead. The fact that this guy took one of his company's products and went solo through a disaster area is really impressive. He earned his company some points in my book. Points in my book admittedly aren't very valuable, but points are points!
      • 4 Years Ago
      wish we got more than just one UJM style bike over here! I'd love to get a new UJM around 400-500cc...
      • 4 Years Ago
      Ito, Ito, Ito just your brain know what Honda have for the entusiast.
      • 4 Years Ago
      That's pretty badass. All apologies if this is in poor taste, but riding around a damaged landscape via motorcycle mad-max style sounds pretty fun.

        • 4 Years Ago
        You meet the nicest people on a Honda
      • 4 Years Ago
      Sochiro would be pleased.
      • 4 Years Ago
      worthy of a Shogun. This is how CEOs (Warlords) behave; they don't cry like Mr. Toyoda.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Good to see Ito-san leading from the front and sending the right message to his employees at a difficult time. Definitely what Mr. Honda would have done.

      Riding motorcycles is almost a requirement of Honda CEO's. Ito's predecessor actually took out a RC211V for a ride (Honda's Moto GP bike).
      • 3 Years Ago
      Sorry to inform your service at Om Sai Auto mobiles is pathetic.....you need to look into it urgently. I have no other option other than searching on the net for the higher official, wherein I can escalate my views and experience. Bikes sold with out user manual (as it is not in stock as stated by them) they them self at the service end are not aware of the same, and further a head the same dealer refuses to do the servicing as the service card is not available, which comes with the user manual, customer is asked to pay for the services (i.e. 1st service). I have procured 2 Honda bikes, Guess what all the studs as well as the metal fittings and screws on the bike are rusted from the day one and same has been shown to the dealer. No response on that? The bikes sold here are old as per my experience, what i saw.... I guess and have a doubt that these are old or second hand bikes. I have procured and have clicked snaps of the same and shown to the dealer. Pls. revert…... Glen H. glen.henriques@gmail.com.
      • 4 Years Ago
      THAT's how you rally your employees. Though is Ito ever OFF his motorcycle? Supposedly he commutes on it every day, and even attends board meetings mounted upon it, revving the engine menacingly when displeased.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Amazing. I'd never thought that a CEO would ride around on the motorcycle like that. I must say, it's one good marketing Honda puts out.

      I think Honda car design department should give a chance to guy at motorcycle design department to design a car for them. New CB1000R looks pretty badass.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I woulda blasted to the site on a CR125 or something. But kudos to him, he's showing his company the drive and determination necessary to push on after that horrid disaster.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Now if only he'd bring that farking motorcycle over to America so I can take it where no auto can go.
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