When a Japanese company NFSWs up in a big way, it is customary that the CEO says “honto ni moshiwake arimasen” (“I am deeply, seriously sorry”) in front of running cameras, takes a very deep bow and exits stage left, not to be seen or heard of anymore while someone else takes his job . That’s just the way Nipponese crisis management works.
Not so at Toyota.
Akio Toyoda, Toyota’s CEO and grandson of the founder had not been seen or heard of ever since pedal-gate gained tsunami-strength. Asked about the boss’s whereabouts, the folks in Aichi said that they are not at liberty to disclose this information.
Finally, a camera crew of the Japanese NHK network cornered Akio Toyoda in the lobby of a swank hotel in Davos Switzerland. While 8 million Toyotas are recalled, he’s attending the World Economic Forum in Davos, where CEOs rub shoulders with politicos.
Visibly annoyed by the intruding cameramen, Toyoda didn’t say much. “We’re extremely sorry to have made customers uneasy,” and “we plan to establish the facts and give an explanation that will remove customers’ concerns as soon as possible.” That was basically it. No more questions could be answered, “because we are still investigating.” Then he left the hotel. In a black Audi, as ABC reports with glee. (For Japanese speakers: There is a video of the short interview in that link.)