"Fukushima tree-planting festival" set for November

13 June 2018

Building on the successful 69th national tree-planting festival hosted earlier this month, the Fukushima prefectural government is set to launch a similar follow-up event during the current 2018 fiscal year ending next March in cooperation with organizations concerned.
The first "Fukushima tree-planting festival" will be conducted on Nov. 4 in a coastal disaster prevention forest being developed in the Kitaebi area of the Kashima district in Minamisoma city. A major tree-planting ceremony is to be held there with about 3,000 participants from within and outside the prefecture. Hosts of the event will be rotated in various parts of Fukushima in and after next year.
The local government expects to fuel the rebirth of prefectural forests, devastated by the 2011 earthquake, tsunami and subsequent nuclear accident at Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Fukushima Daiichi plant, with the aim of inheriting the spirit of the national tree-planting festival held on June 10 in Minamisoma in the presence of Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko.
The follow-up event was announced by Fukushima Gov. Masao Uchibori at a press conference on June 12. It will be organized by an executive committee comprising the local government, municipalities concerned, forest-related organizations, tourism bodies and other parties.
The forthcoming event will be themed on the restoration of tsunami-damaged disaster prevention forests in coastal areas, as was the case with the national tree-planting festival.
Some 16,000 saplings of Japanese black pine trees, "enoki" nettle trees, "yamazakura" cherry trees and other species are to be planted in a seashore area about 3 hectares wide.
The event is also intended to allay concerns about prefectural goods in the wake of the nuclear disaster by publicizing the output of local agricultural, forestry and fisheries, as well as wooden products of good quality.
The prefectural government is hoping to enlist support from kabuki star Ichikawa Ebizo, who is engaged in a reforestation project in Nagano Prefecture, in drawing participants on the back of his standing offer to assist local post-disaster reconstruction.
The prefectural government is poised to consider role-sharing arrangements with a related local event known as an "Utsukushima tree-fostering festival," held since 2003 (Utsukushima is a word coined from "utsukushii" or beautiful and Fukushima). "We would like to push further ahead with tree planting and other green forestation projects throughout the whole of Fukushima," Uchibori said.
(Translated by Kyodo News)