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Wednesday, 6th March 2013
In General Japan News,

Rikuzentakata monument built around 'miracle-pine'

A monument built around a pine tree which survived Japan's 2011 earthquake and tsunami has been unveiled in the city of Rikuzentakata.

Despite being the only tree which endured the natural disaster, the so-called miracle pine later died as the soil in which it stood became too rich in saline after being drenched in salt water.

A carbon fibre pole has been drilled into the centre of the tree so that it can form part of the monument.

Rikuzentakata will hold an official ceremony on March 22nd to mark the completion of the work.

Despite the town based in the Iwate Prefecture being devastated by the natural disaster, there are a number of stories of hope arising from the chaos.

The Japan Times reported on the case of Yagisawa Shoten whose soy sauce business was forced to stop production after the company's warehouse was destroyed by the tsunami.

Michihiro Kono, president of the company, decided to keep the business alive by hiring graduates to work at temporary office space just one month after the event.


"If I had dismissed our workers and cancelled our offers to graduates, people would have started leaving Rikuzentakata in droves. It was time for us to repay the debt of gratitude to the people here," he said.

He suggested that by keeping the enterprise going, he was giving hope to the town's citizens at a time when they had little.

"We had to take on the challenge and bring a breath of fresh air to the city during those dark days," he explained.

In February 2013, prime minister Shinzo Abe showed his support for the residents of Rikuzentakata by visiting a memorial for those killed in the disaster.

During his visit, Mr Abe reassured residents that "the government is making all-out efforts to achieve early reconstruction and to help affected people return to the lives they had before the disaster".

Written by Mark Smith