News Japan Quake: Motorcycle Production News

Japan Quake: Motorcycle Production News

2011 Japanese Earthquake

Japan is continuing its relief efforts, attempting to recover from March 11’s 9.0 magnitude earthquake, which subsequently triggered a tsunami in the Northeastern region of the country north of Tokyo.

As of Friday, the death toll is more than 7,000, and there are over 10,000 people missing. There is also fear of a nuclear power-plant meltdown due to the quake.

Following are some updates from the Big Four in the Motorcycle industry (Honda, Suzuki, Yamaha, Kawasaki) regarding operations after the Japan Earthquake and subsequent tsunami.

Suzuki Motorcycles

All Japanense manufacturing facilities are closed until March 21. The emergency situation due to the Japan Earthquake will be reassessed next week to determine when the plants will re-open.

Suzuki’s production buildings are about 150 miles south of Tokyo, and weren’t damaged due to the earthquake. But Suzuki co-partnered with the "Rolling Power Blackouts," which conserves energy to help prevent a blackout.

Five Suzuki facilities are closed, including Takatsuka and Toyokawa, where motorcycles are assembled.

Suzuki has also donated 30 million yen to the Japanese Red Cross to help the recovery effort.

Kawasaki Motorcycles received a message from Kawasaki Motors Corp., USA, which was sent to all its dealers last week. The message, written by Kawasaki President Tak Terahishi, stated the following:

"Many of you have called conveying your thoughts and prayers for Kawasaki’s staff and family members in Japan, as well as the hundreds of thousands of Japanese citizens who have been affected by this tragedy. Your concern is both appreciated and heartfelt.

"The primary disaster area is centered near Sendai, which is 185 miles northeast of Tokyo. Kawasaki’s Akashi factory is located 400 miles southwest of that location. Fortunately, the Akashi/Kobe area where KHI offices and factory are located did not experience any direct effects from the earthquake.

"The people of Japan will continue to face immediate hardships; the situation there is changing daily.

"The companies that operate there, like Kawasaki, will continue to monitor the situation and will be prepared to adjust business operations as dictated by circumstances.

"Again, we want to thank you for your concerns. As more information becomes available we will provide you with updates."

Yamaha Motorcycles

Yamaha Motor Company reported last week that there was no damage to its facilities, which include five motorcycle factories. But the motorcycle production facilities will remain closed until March 23 as part of the "Rolling Power Blackouts."

Yamaha reported it will reassess the situation on March 23, and will decide if it will go back to production.

To assist in the Japan quake recovery effort, Yamaha donated thousands of items, including water, meal, surgical masks, portable toilets, blankets, electric bicycles and generators.

Honda Motorcycles

Due to the relief effort in Northeastern Japan from to the Earthquake and subsequent Tsunami, Honda has extended the suspension of production until March 23 at three factories.

This includes the Kumamoto Factory, where Honda manufactures motorcycles (the CBR600, the VFR1200F, the DN-01 and the Super Cub).

Honda, who originally planned to restart production in these plants on March 20, says that from March 24 on it will make decisions "based on the status of the recovery of parts supply as well as Japanese society as a whole."

To help out Japan Earthquake victims, Honda also supported its country with the following aid:
・ 300 million yen toward the relief and recovery effort.
・ A total of 1,000 generators (gasoline-powered and home-use gas canister-powered), along with 5,000 gas canisters. Honda also will dispatch its staff to explain how to use the donated generators. 

Ron Lieback
Ron Lieback
One of the few moto journalists based on the East Coast, Ron Lieback joined the motorcycle industry as a freelancer in 2007, and is currently Online Editor at Ultimate Motorcycling. He is also the author of "365 to Vision: Modern Writer's Guide (How to Produce More Quality Writing in Less Time).

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