05/25/2012 12:28 EDT | Updated 07/25/2012 05:12 EDT

Tsunami Motorcycle Heading To Harley Museum

The Harley-Davidson motorcycle that drifted across the Pacific Ocean after the Japanese tsunami last year will be put on display at the Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the company announced Friday.

The company says the bike's Japanese owner turned down their offer to restore the bike and deliver it to him in Japan, and instead elected to have it turned into a memorial to those who died in the tsunami.

The 2004 FXSTB Softail Night Train motorcycle was found in April in a cube van container on a beach in Haida Gwaii on the west coast of British Columbia by local resident Peter Mark.

Owner, Ikuo Yokoyama, 29, was tracked down in Japan after the bike was identified by its licence plate. He is still living in temporary housing. The tsunami destroyed his home and killed three members of his family.

Officials with Harley-Davidson said they offered to restore the bike and ship it to Japan, but Yokoyama decided instead to have it turned into a memorial to those whose lives were lost or forever changed by the disaster.

“It is truly amazing that my Harley-Davidson motorcycle was recovered in Canada after drifting for more than a year,” said Yokoyama in a statement released by the company.

“Since the motorcycle was recovered, I have discussed with many people about what to do with it. I would be delighted if it could be preserved in its current condition and exhibited to the many visitors to the Harley-Davidson Museum as a memorial to a tragedy that claimed thousands of lives."

Owner hopes to visit museum

Yokoyama said he hopes to take up Harley-Davidson's offer of a trip to Milwaukee to see the bike when the memorial is set up.

"I would like to do that when things have calmed down. At the same time, I would like to meet Peter, who recovered my motorcycle, to express my gratitude," he said.

"Finally, I would like to thank all people around the world once again for their wholehearted support of the areas hit by the earthquake and tsunami. I would like to ask them to help convey messages from the Japanese people about the tragedy of the Great East Japan Earthquake, which was a disaster of historic proportions.”

The motorcycle is currently being stored at the Deeley Harley-Davidson facility in Vancouver.

Peter Mark, who found the motorcycle and transported it to Victoria with the help of friends, said he looked forward to one day meeting Yokoyama, and welcomed the decision to have it put on display at the museum.

“I think it is fitting that the Harley, which was swept across the Pacific Ocean by the tsunami, will end up in the Harley-Davidson Museum as a memorial to that tragic event. It has an interesting and powerful story to convey preserved in its current state.”

Bill Davidson, the vice president of the Harley-Davidson Museum said they are looking forward to receiving the bike and plan to preserve it in its current condition.