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Japan’s motorcycle manufacturers, which cast their gaze abroad long ago to make up for shrinking domestic sales, are seeing a jump in demand from an unexpected place: their home market.

Sales of bikes with engines larger than 251 cc rose 32% to 51,035 units in the first half of the year, according to data released by the Japan Light Motor Vehicle and Motorcycle Association this week. "I never thought I would see anything like this,” said Hideaki Iwami, head of sales at Honda Motorcycle Japan.

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