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The “hog,” still bearing a Japanese licence plate, was discovered by beachcomber Peter Mark while riding his ATV in Naikoon Provincial Park. The container, washed away by the deadly tsunami more than a year ago, was carried by the Pacific Ocean currents some 5,000 km with the motorcycle still inside.
Ikuo Yokohama, a 29-year-old resident of the town of Yamamoto, in Miyagi Prefecture, was tracked down by a Harley-Davidson representative in Japan who saw the story first reported by CBC News.
A spokesperson for Milwaukee-based Harley Davidson told CBC News they are now hoping to pay for the return of the bike to Yokohama, who lost three family members and his home in the devastating tsunami caused by a massive earthquake off Japan in March 2011. He is still living in temporary accommodations.
Yokohama told Japanese television station NHK the discovery of the motorcycle was miraculous and he wished to thank the B.C. man who found it personally, but so far he has only been able to do so via TV.
When asked what he would like to say to his Harley, Yokoyama laughed and said in Japanese, “Thanks for coming back, buddy.”
Harley-Davidson has offered to restore the badly rusted bike once it returns to Miyagi Prefecture.
Debris is expected to keep washing up on the west coast of North America from Alaska to California for years to come, experts say.