Two Lessons from the Visit of Dr Basri: Taking Children to the Disaster Hit Area, Mr Kazuhiko Toyama’s Company


I have explained to you about how Dr Basri arrived with a very short notice to Japan  on Saturday, April 23rd.

Dr Basri arrived at Haneda airport from NYC via Narita airport.  We had a briefing for 30 min. from around 4:30pm, and I saw the 3 Basris off for Akita airport.  From Akita airport, a car picked them up and took them across the Tohoku district to Miyako city at midnight and I received an e-mail report of their arrival right after they safely checked in to the Jodogahama Park Hotel (Ref 1).  (Both links are in Japanese).

The next day, they visited several disaster stricken areas, handed the aid goods they brought from US, and spent the last night at Morioka city.  Early in the next Morning (Monday), they left Morioka for a flight to Haneda Airport via Akita Airport.  I invited them to our office of HGPI, and had a de-briefing for about 30 min.  I heard that the cherry blossoms were beautiful at Tohoku.  Dr Basri and I busily continued discussion near the Tokyo Station and then hurried to the station to catch the Narita Express for 13:33, which they intended to board.  However, the train did not run because of the schedule change due to electricity saving, so they had to buy tickets for a different train, and I finally succeeded in seeing them off to Narita.  I am glad that I was able to attend them all the way to the platform of the station.

Dr. Basri took his two children to the stricken area of Japan because he believes that being at the site in person; to see, walk, and feel the place first handedly, is very important and practiced his belief.  This is the basics of education, and I was very impressed by his action.  Their trip was for 3 days and 2 nights in Japan, a hard packed schedule, but the children were very tough and high spirited.

The request by Dr Basri was challenging in that it was such a short notice, and the place was hit by the great disaster  which made everything quite difficult.  I was able to satisfy his request in only 2 days somehow, because I remembered Mr Kazuhiko Toyama (please search by the key word ‘Kazuhiko Toyama’ in this site), a person whom I have introduced to you so many times here in my blog.
Immediately after the quake and Tsunami, Mr Toyama called me on phone.  He said that one of his companies, Fukushima-Kotsu (in Japanese) ‘need many radiation detectors to ensure the safety of the bus drivers (from the nuclear plant radiation)’ and he asked for my advice.  From our conversation, I was told then that he also manages the Iwate Prefecture North Bus Company, Ibaragi Transportations, and Jodogahama Park Hotel  so I called him for his help.  Mr Toyama kindly arranged entire itinerary in two days and sent instructions to make the trip of Dr Basri and his children possible.  Dr Basri was very happy about it.

I was impressed with the speed of Mr. Toyama’s arrangement, the courteousness and attentiveness of the local staff such as sending us confirmation of the arrival of the guests.  Mr. Toyama cared much about his bus drivers from the beginning of the nuclear breakdown, and I heard that the effect of the disaster to the bus operation was kept to minimum.

My point is that this is how business leaders should be, the basic focus required of good executives.  Mr. Toyama put into action his ‘the driver comes first’ philosophy even in this crisis, and I was impressed by his conduct.

There are many who speak or write such ideals, but I learned from this event that the true value/quality of leaders  (Ref 1) is unveiled at time of such unexpected crises depending on what actions they take.

This value/quality of a leader has to do with the ‘ability to fail’, a character that must be earned through overcoming of many failures in their young age.