Business: Youth Will Be Saved

In a country where age has traditionally been an important criterion for industrial command, Hon da Motor Co. was long conspicuous for the youth of its leadership; Soichiro Honda founded the company in 1948 when he was only 42. Now, having built it into a colossus with sales of $1.2 billion a year, he is returning the company to the junior side of the generation gap by retiring at 67 and turning over the reins to Kiyoshi Kawashima, 45, a quiet, self-deprecating engineer who at 45 is at least 15 years younger than most Japanese chief executives.

The choice was almost inevitable:...

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