London's Fukushima Garden marks 10th anniversary

Photo: A cherry tree-planting ceremony was attended by (from left) Fukushima-Minpo President Koichi Yoshimi, Fukushima Prefectural Association President Yoshio Mitsuyama, Ambassador Hajime Hayashi, Motomiya Deputy Mayor Masahiro Watanabe, Kensington and Chelsea Mayor David Lindsay, and Fukushima Vice Gov. Takatoshi Ide.

A ceremony was held in London's Holland Park on Sept. 7 (early Sept. 8 JST) to mark the 10th anniversary of the opening of the Fukushima Garden there. Participants from Japan enjoyed viewing the trees that have grown during the past decade, while pledging efforts to further promote exchanges between Fukushima Prefecture and Britain. At the ceremony held in the garden, located in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, a cherry tree sapling was planted in commemoration of the occasion. Ahead of the planting, congratulatory speeches were delivered by David Lindsay, mayor of the borough, Japanese Ambassador to Britain Hajime Hayashi, Fukushima Vice Gov. Takatoshi Ide and Masahiro Watanabe, deputy mayor of the Fukushima Prefecture city of Motomiya that hosts a British-style garden. They were joined by Yoshio Mitsuyama, president of the Fukushima Prefectural Association in London, and Koichi Yoshimi, president of Fukushima-Minpo Co., the publisher of the Fukushima-Minpo newspaper, in planting the "Shirofugen" variety of cherry trees. Yoshimi expressed gratitude for the support and assistance Britain extended to Fukushima Prefecture in the wake of the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and ensuing nuclear accident at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.'s Fukushima Daiichi plant. "We hope that exchanges between Britain and Fukushima will deepen further and that this garden will be cherished as a symbol of reconstruction for many years to come," he said. The Fukushima Garden opened in 2012 after "Fukushima reconstruction ambassadors," who were chosen in a project organized by Fukushima-Minpo, visited London for the Olympic Games. Mitsuyama and then Japanese Ambassador to Britain Keiichi Hayashi were among those who played major roles in opening the garden with the help of London residents. The creation of the garden and British Prince William's visit to Motomiya in 2015 led to the opening in 2017 of a British-style garden in the Fukushima Prefecture city. The two gardens have a sister garden agreement in place. (Translated by Kyodo News)