HIROSHIMA – Seeds from trees that survived the 1945 U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima will be planted at a botanical garden in Oslo on Saturday, a day before the award ceremony for the Nobel Peace Prize is held in the city.
Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui, Nagasaki Mayor Tomohisa Taue and more than 20 hibakusha will attend the seed-planting ceremony at the University of Oslo garden. They will be visiting the Norwegian capital along with members of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, the group that won this year’s prize for advocating a treaty outlawing nuclear weapons.
The seeds, taken from ginkgo, hackberry, holly and jujube trees that withstood the bombing despite growing near ground zero in downtown Hiroshima, will be presented to the botanical garden at its request, according to Green Legacy Hiroshima Initiative, a civic group that works to conserve trees that survived the attack.
A 17-meter-tall ginkgo tree, located in a garden about 1.4 km from the hypocenter, is estimated to be more than 200 years old. The tree’s surface is scarred from being exposed to radiation and its foliage is sparse, but it still turns yellow each fall.
“These trees are precious because, like the hibakusha, they were hurt but survived the bombing. I hope (the ceremony) will provide a chance to build a better future in which we abolish nuclear weapons and live together with nature,” said Tomoko Watanabe, 64, a coordinator for the civic group.
The Hiroshima civic group will also give a book on Sadako Sasaki to Norway’s Princess Ingrid Alexandra, the 13-year-old granddaughter of King Harald V. Sasaki was a Hiroshima atomic bombing victim who continued to fold paper cranes during her battle with leukemia until her death at the age of 12 in 1955, a decade after she was first exposed to radiation.
CORRECTION: The original story reported that Princess Ingrid Alexandra of Norway would take part in the ceremony. It has been confirmed that she will not attend.