Japanese man claims motorcycle that washed up in Canada
A Canadian man says he found this Harley-Davidson in a storage container on a British Columbia beach in April.
May 2nd, 2012
07:20 PM ET

Japanese man claims motorcycle that washed up in Canada

A Harley-Davidson motorcycle believed to have traversed the Pacific Ocean to western Canada after being swept from coastal Japan during a March 2011 tsunami has been claimed by a Japanese man.

Ikuo Yokoyama, 29, of Yamamoto, Japan, says a Harley-Davidson representative tracked him down after the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. ran a story about the bike, which was found in a storage container on British Columbia’s Haida Gwaii islands, the CBC reported.

Harley-Davidson now intends to restore the bike, which had rusted but still had its Miyagi Prefecture license plate, and send it back to Yokoyama, Japanese broadcaster NHK reported Wednesday.

Yokoyama, who NHK reported lost three family members and his home in the disaster, said he was "so glad that (the motorcycle) will be returned to me.”

“I would like to thank the man who found my bike in person,” Yokoyama said in an NHK interview aired on the CBC.

Peter Mark, a Haida Gwaii resident, told the CBC that he found the container and the motorcycle, golf clubs, camping equipment and tools inside on a beach on April 18.

“First I thought, this has got to be the craziest thing anyone has ever found,” Mark told the CBC. “Then I looked a little closer and the license had Japanese writing on it. The wall of the trailer had Japanese print on the tags. And the first thing that popped into my head was this is likely from the tsunami in Japan.”

Thousands of people in Japan were killed on March 11, 2011, during a 9.0-magnitude earthquake and a subsequent tsunami. The tsunami swept an enormous amount of debris from the island nation into the Pacific.

About 70% of the debris sank, according to Japanese government estimates, and no one knows how much of the remaining 1.5 million tons of debris still is floating in the Pacific.

But U.S. officials say some items from the disaster may be washing up on North American shores, thousands of miles from Japan, and that residents along the North Pacific should expect reports of debris to increase and continue over the next couple of years.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says there is no current "debris field." Rather, items, large and small, are scattered over a huge swath of the North Pacific and may make landfall intermittently.

Last month, CNN reported that a soccer ball found washed up on a remote Alaskan beach apparently belongs to a Japanese teenager. And the U.S. Coast Guard fired on and sank a rust-stained fishing trawler  swept from Japan by the tsunami in Alaskan waters, saying that the unmanned vessel was a hazard to mariners.

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Filed under: 2011 tsunami • Canada • Japan
soundoff (97 Responses)
  1. SSG Rock

    To Tom Tom the clueless: Grow up. No one begrudges you the choice to ride a 200mph body bag filler that should be restricted to track use. Are HD's as fast as 'crotch rockets'? No, they aren't intended to be. They are purposely kept very traditional and more attention to visual appealthan 1/4 mile times. HD riders enjoy the journey, not out to prove they are the fastest on the block...You mention "trying to look tough"...who is really trying to prove something...the HD tourer on his Ultra Glide who enjoys the road so much he does 20K miles + a year, or the punk on his R1 with the helmet cam footage showing 185mph on the interstate? Methinks someone gat 'shorted' in the shorts and needs to compensate. and if your hatred of HD is just because you don't have the means to buy one. Work on it: I don't hate '64 GTO's just because I can't afford one. To each their own, Tom, you need a large dose of maturity.

    May 3, 2012 at 10:51 am | Report abuse |
    • Jason

      Who is really the clueless one? You say crotch rockets should be banned from the streets, probably because people get hurt on them a lot. Well get a clue yourself, most of the accidents that happen on them are the fault of drivers in other cars not paying attention and smashing them. Yes I know that is not always how it happens but it's more often the way it goes. So let's ban crappy drivers instead. Not to mention that when they do wreck, if its by their own hand or not, it's mostly only the rider that gets hurt. So let's look at it like this, let the person riding the bike decide if they want to ride it on the street. Not some random person making decisions for people he has nothing to do with. Worry about youand pay attention to where you are driving that way you are not at fault.

      June 6, 2012 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
  2. conoclast

    One wonders who built the amazingly seaworthy container! A year and 5000 miles-on-the-open-sea later it finally made its delivery!

    May 3, 2012 at 11:05 am | Report abuse |
  3. Realityblowz

    Hopefully they will be able to fix the idle and speedometer on it before they return it to him. As I have noticed, all Harley bikes jam up traffic since they drive at 5mph under the limit continously, and whenever they are at a stop light, they must stall out since the riders always have to give them quick rev's with the throttle. Sounds just like my riding mower when the exhaust muffler comes off.

    May 3, 2012 at 11:18 am | Report abuse |
    • blah blah blah

      You do know that the speed limit is the MAXIMUM posted speed that you can drive, right? There is nothing wrong with driving a little bit slower, especially if a slower speed is warranted on a particular road for safety concerns.

      June 6, 2012 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
  4. SSG Rock is immature

    To SSG Rock, Its immature to argue over the internet. Grow up.

    May 3, 2012 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
  5. liam

    Looks like a nice bike. Like to see what it looks like after they restore it for him. @ Tom, you don't see HD riders weaving in and out of traffic cutting people off and doing dumb a$$ stunts on public roads endangering other motorists.

    May 3, 2012 at 11:26 am | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      @liam:
      Dangerous stunts? No.
      Weaving in and out of traffic and endangering and angering other motorists?
      All the time. All. The. Time.

      I don't think that has anything to do with the make and model of the bike, and everything to do with the mentality of the person riding it.

      Well done, Harley-Davidson.

      May 3, 2012 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • sturgis rocks

      Nothing nevermind.

      May 4, 2012 at 10:20 am | Report abuse |
    • Expresss

      See it all the time.

      June 7, 2012 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
  6. liam

    When I see someone on a crotch rocket I think "rookie".

    May 3, 2012 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
  7. tutuvabene

    Restore the bike? Just give him a new one. Probably cost less that way.

    May 3, 2012 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • RockonNY

      buy a new one? He lost his whole family and house and this is all he has left. Yeah no sentimental value there.

      June 7, 2012 at 10:18 am | Report abuse |
  8. Graham

    Liam.... when I see someone on a Harley I think.....Old Man....

    May 3, 2012 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
  9. sturgis rocks

    Ride it to Sturgis and then give it back, crap you made it to N America, harley, go the whole ride now....

    May 4, 2012 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
  10. WWWebb

    If they know 70% of the debris sank, how come "no one knows how much of the remaining 1.5 million tons of debris still is floating"? Pretty simple math.

    June 7, 2012 at 8:45 pm | Report abuse |
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