TOKYO (AP) — Toshihiro Mibe, a research expert, has been tapped to be president of Japanese automaker Honda. He promised to steer the company toward new growth by focusing on ecological models and safety technology. Honda Motor Co. said Friday that Mibe replaces Takahiro Hachigo, effective April 1, and subject to shareholders’ approval at a meeting in June. Mibe stressed the automaker will be aggressive about developing and selling electric vehicles. Mibe, who joined Honda in 1987, had been widely expected to take the top post, according to Japanese media. He was instrumental in further forging Honda’s partnership with U.S. automaker General Motors Co.