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. BT

    Very nice of Harley Davidson to restore this bike and send it back to the owner. Kudos to them for doing something heartfelt for someone who lost so much during that terrible event.

    May 2, 2012 at 8:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fearfighter

      The crazy thing is people and business do these types of great things every single day but NONE of that is ever Mentioned because only the worst of the world is typical publishing from the news media..The world is not as BAD as the media would have people believe...

      May 2, 2012 at 10:31 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Razorback

    Glad the owner survived the tsunami. And kudos to Harley for restoring his bike for him! What a classy company.

    May 2, 2012 at 8:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son.

      If only their customers were.

      May 3, 2012 at 8:37 am | Report abuse |
  3. gabegrphx

    way to go Harley-Davidson great PR and nice touch

    May 2, 2012 at 8:38 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Kawabunga

    you can shine it up all nice and new but it will still be a big steaming pile of garbage. Harley Davidson is for big fat posers.

    May 2, 2012 at 8:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • morterimerjsnerd

      get over it. Harley did a good thing; too bad you are such a bigot you can't appreciate that some people do nice things.

      May 2, 2012 at 8:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • MrRobertK

      I've got over 150,000 miles on my '06 Street Glide. Been all over the US with no problems. Tell me again about your opinion of Harleys and I'll tell you how little I care.

      May 2, 2012 at 9:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • juanmoretime

      You want a motorcycle with balls? Get a Harley!

      May 2, 2012 at 10:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son.

      Agreed, Harleys are for weekend warriors who think they are bikers. It may have balls but they always seem to be missing a few bolts.

      May 3, 2012 at 8:39 am | Report abuse |
  5. Paul

    Clad the USCG did not decide to sink it.

    May 2, 2012 at 8:54 pm | Report abuse |
  6. kikucat

    That is very nice of Harley-Davidson to restore & return Mr. Yokoyama's bike to him. I was impressed by the fact that a Harley rep tracked Mr. Yokoyama down after hearing about the bike 🙂 Kudo's to Harley-Davidson.

    May 2, 2012 at 8:55 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Dave

    It will still be a piece of junk even after it's restored.

    May 2, 2012 at 9:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • jason

      not to the owner

      May 2, 2012 at 9:36 pm | Report abuse |
  8. den_s

    years ago, when working at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore,on Earth Day, I had a man approach me about finding an ATV on the beach. Turns out it had fell through the ice in Wisconsin and floated across Lake Michigan. When I contacted the owner her thought I was a prankster, as he'd hired a plane to search for it, and it was the talk of the small fishing town he lived in. He picked it up and took it home to clean up and fix to usable condition. Sure was a big mystery where it came from initially. Strange thing about it is that we sent out a number of press releases regarding this and, even with the Earth Day link, nobody but the local county weekly picked it up.

    May 2, 2012 at 9:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • 3939

      what do you want a medal? Get a grip! The tsunami was a bit more news worthy

      May 2, 2012 at 10:10 pm | Report abuse |

    With so much hate going on in the world it's soooo nice to hear about Harley-Davidson' efforts to rebuild the bike and to get it back to it's owner.......Great PR..........

    May 2, 2012 at 9:45 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Greek American

    While I do give Harley credit and this is a nice story, couldn't they just give the guy a new one? Maybe throw in some free gas for a year?

    May 2, 2012 at 9:47 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Vancouverite

    It was found on the Queen Charlotte Islands.

    May 2, 2012 at 10:03 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Stan K

    Personally I'm not a huge Harley product fan, but I tip my hat to this nice gesture. It's great PR and they deserve it.

    And to the poster above, no, a new bike would not mean as much to the man as his own personal bike, brought back to great condition. In fact I'd bet this restoration will cost HD a lot more than just giving a new bike off the production line, and certainly more trouble as well. Frankly, with that kind of pure money-value thinking, I think you have little understanding of the emotional dynamics of the situation (or of bike owners in general, especially HD owners).

    May 2, 2012 at 10:13 pm | Report abuse |
  13. yep

    Cool of Harley Davidson... things like that are cheaper than commercials and touch way more hearts.

    May 2, 2012 at 10:29 pm | Report abuse |
  14. MidWestern Boy

    Nice humanitarian gesture from the Canadian finder and Harley. America and Canada both come across as winners.

    May 2, 2012 at 10:32 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Fauxartist

    The man who found the bike should be commended and recognized as well. Had he been an unscrupulous man, he could have possibly turned a profit from the find. Doing the right thing once the logical conclusion was made of the bikes origin, is as noteworthy as Harley Davidson's offer to restore and return the bike.

    I am sure as mentioned above that a restoration is much more expensive than a new bike of the same model or better one, but that is not the point here. After all the loss, being reunited with HIS cherished old friend would mean so much more to Mr. Yokoyama. It will serve as not only a reminder of the past but the optimism of the ability to rebuild and heal. Congrats to everyone involved. It would be nice to get the finder, the owner and the rebuild team together for the presentation.

    May 2, 2012 at 11:01 pm | Report abuse |
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