By on March 30, 2011

Last weekend, Akio Toyoda donned heavy work clothes and a hard hat to do some genchi genbutsu (Toyota-speak for “go and see for yourself”) and toured the areas hit by earthquake and tsunami. Instead of us writing about it, we let Toyoda go and write himself.

Akio Toyoda, an admitted auto otaku, has an alter ego at the Gazoo Racing blog where he writes under the nom de plume “Morizou”.  That nick is borrowed from a cactus-like character that was the mascot of the 2005 Aichi Expo, but that’s for another story and another time. In yesterday’s blog, Toyoda/Morizou wrote about the tour. Translating from Japanese to English is pretty hard, especially when condolences are involved. Frau Schmitto-san and I besto wo tsukushita – we did our best, as they say in Japanese.

Hello. This is Morizou.

Once again, please pray for the people who died in the earthquake. I want to express my heartfelt sympathy to all who have lost family and friends in this tragedy.

As mentioned in previous blogs, immediately after the earthquake, my colleagues and I went out into the field to help the local people with the reconstruction. I want to express my deepest gratitude to all who have supported these activities.

Toyota will continue to put maximum effort behind these support activities for the affected areas.

I wanted to be on scene as quickly as possible, to get a first-hand impression of the extent of the destruction, and to listen to the voice of the people directly, unfiltered, one on one.

I used the weekend of the 27th to go to Miyagi, to witness the scene. Words cannot explain what I saw.

The port of Sendai shows deep scars left behind by the tsunami. Cars parked at the boatyard, ready for shipment, were swallowed by the tsunami. The port is damaged beyond recognition.

In Miyagi, I also visited dealers. Lives had been lost there. Despite their sorrow, the dealers worried about their customers. Dealers were concerned about possibly disturbing customers with their calls, but finally, they called. The customers were surprised and grateful to receive such a thoughtful call in times of emergency.

Of our sites, I went to Central Motors, to Toyota Tohoku, and to Prime Earth Energy. They are working hard to deliver your cars as quickly as possible.

Our production sites receive a lot of valuable assistance from the town offices of Ohira and Taiwa. They are working very hard there, and I am very grateful for their huge efforts.  As soon as possible we hope that the people there will have reason to smile again. The Tohoku area is famous for its craftsmanship, and I hope it will be put back to good use as quickly as possible.

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