Honda Reports Earthquake Fatality

30 injured at Tochigi Proving Ground

By Motorcycle.Com Staff, Mar. 11, 2011
Honda has confirmed at least one fatality at its Tochigi, Japan, research facility following an 8.9-magnitude earthquake.

The unidentified 43-year-old worker was crushed by a collapsing wall caused by the earthquake off the east coast of Japan. Another 30 workers were reported injured.

“The earthquake which hit Japan earlier today was one of the largest ever recorded and is a major catastrophe for the nation,” read a Honda statement. “Honda’s number one priority is to help and support the affected areas in whatever capacity we have at our disposal. Honda can confirm that there has been one fatality at Honda R&D Co. Ltd in Tochigi prefecture. At this time, thirty injuries have also been reported.”

The facility, located about 80 miles north of Tokyo, houses Honda’s Tochigi Proving Ground which includes test courses for the company’s motorcycles and automobiles.

Honda halted production at its automobile production plants in Sayama and Suzuka. The Suzuka plant has re-opened but the Sayama plant is expected to remain closed through the weekend. Honda’s Kumamoto factory, which produces motorcycles and power products, is located on the other side of the country from the earthquake’s epicenter and remains open.

The other major Japanese motorcycle manufacturers, Yamaha, Suzuki and Kawasaki, have not reported any injuries as yet, as Honda was closest to the earthquake’s epicenter. It is also too early to predict how the earthquake will affect operations but with much of Japan’s infrastructure damaged, shipments delays are expected as the nation focuses on recovering.