TOKYO -- The 2013 Tokyo Motor Show was an unprecedented love fest.
Last month on the afternoon before the first press day, the bosses of each member of the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association stood shoulder to shoulder on the same stage, as the sound of a revving engine from each of their lineups roared in turn.
It was an unusual show of solidarity. And it wasn't the last.
The next day at the show, Toyota President Akio Toyoda, sitting astride a Honda motorcycle, smiled and waved to the cameras along with Honda Motor CEO Takanobu Ito. That's like the head of Ford happily posing behind the wheel of a Chevy Corvette.
Japan's automakers have bonded as survivors.
It's one thing to get through a sales downturn. It's quite another to be struggling through the worst global financial crisis in 80 years, battered by a currency rate that turns the exports you rely on into money-losers -- and then see your factories, and those of your rival countrymen, devastated by an earthquake.
At that event, top executives from Japan's five largest automakers took turns on the stage talking about their experiences in the quake, their appreciation of monozukuri (making things) and their hopes for the future. For example, Nissan Vice Chairman Toshiyuki Shiga recalled being in a videoconference when the quake hit. He spent the night at Nissan's disaster response center.