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Company in focus: For Toyota's president, it's a never-ending quest to find the future

Akio Toyoda is forging unexpected alliances as the world's top carmaker refuses to relax

Akio Toyoda in Tokyo on Sept. 19. (Photo by Wataru Ito)

NAGOYA, Japan On a warm Saturday afternoon in early September, Toyota Motor President Akio Toyoda made a surprise visit at a Corolla auto dealership in Fukushima. Customers quickly pulled out their smartphones and began snapping pictures of the widely recognizable executive.

"He came here right after the earthquake, too," said Yoshiya Sato, president of the dealership, referring to the 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster. "He showed concern about the situation in the region, what with the nuclear accident and all, and not just about our sales."

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