It stood the testimony of time, devastation and destruction and yet people look at it with skepticism. I am talking about the 27-meter-tall 200-year-old pine tree in the city of Rikuzentakata in Iwate Prefecture, which stood tall despite the ravage destruction that took place on that fateful day in March 2011. Symbolizing hope for the country, the local government has promised to protect it forever.
The sole survivor of a forest of 70,000 trees along the coastline, for the past year the tree seems to be in jeopardy and fighting for survival. The city’s government is going formulating a preservation scheme which is drawing quite some flak from the online community due to its hefty 150,000,000 yen price tag. The tree did take some severe beating due to the tsunami and despite the best intentions; it is withering in front of our eyes.
Authorities say that the roots were overexposed to salt water from the ocean and this has affected the tree. Efforts to build a protective cordon from the salt water have proved futile and the tree is unable to absorb nutrients anymore. The city plans to cut it down, treat the wood, and insert a metal skeleton and preserve it as a commemorative monument. The tree will be returned to its original spot in a ceremony on the second anniversary of the Tohoku Earthquake next March 11. Netizens are furious at the estimated costs involved and are decrying the project as silly.