MORIOKA, IWATE PREF. – The restanding of the “miracle pine” that was still standing in Rikuzentakata, Iwate Prefecture, after the massive March 2011 tsunami reached its final stage Tuesday as workers planted its 8-meter-long roots.
The trunk and branches will be assembled starting later this month to complete the restoration of the 27-meter pine at its original site by March 11, the second anniversary of the disaster, according to the Rikuzentakata Municipal Government.
The tree was cut up last September into several parts to be treated to prevent decay.
It was the only one of about 70,000 pines on a stretch of coast that was still standing after the disaster, but its roots were dying from exposure to seawater, prompting the effort to preserve the tree that had become a symbol of the city’s reconstruction.
“I’d like to say, ‘Welcome back,’ ” said Yoshihisa Suzuki, 68, the leader of a local group working to preserve the tree.