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Japan city seeks funds for dying 'miracle' pine

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I would let it die and have party instead. Mother nature always wins at the end.

0 ( +9 / -9 )

To hell with the damn tree. Give that money back to the people who need it.

2 ( +10 / -9 )

Let the former TEPCO CEO pay for it, he has more than enough $$ from his golden parachute last year. If they want money it should be to compensate and evacuate people from the contaminated areas. To save a tree instead of people is insanity but the last year has been nothing but that.

2 ( +8 / -6 )

i think there are more important things to spend money on in that region.

3 ( +9 / -7 )

Nothing better to do down there?? Nothing more pressing than spending money on a tree???

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

Spend the 90 mill on some new housing development use the change to plant a new forest! 90 mill on one tree defies logic.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

90million? Symbolism has its place, sure, to raise spirits, but not at that cost.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Absolutely ridiculous. Not even worth considering. I would be furious if I was one of the people whose lives was affected by the tsunami.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

I sense a Shinto implication here. Let us see what the public reaction would be like.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Dear posters, please add your comments to the official facebook page. JT has a low readership among the Rikuzentakata policy makers. http://www.facebook.com/SAVETAKATA.PAGE

0 ( +4 / -4 )

90 million yen?! To treat one tree? You must be joking.

-1 ( +5 / -7 )

Ha haa haaaaa,

This is a good example of

An unexplained typical Japanese stupidity.

Sorry to say.

0 ( +10 / -10 )

Look after the people first ,then worry about the future , and then, maybe then ,worry about spending an enormous amount of money to save a tree!!

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

NIce to see we're all on the same page here. Let nature take it's course.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

SSway, TEPCO has nothing to do with RikuzenTakada's problems. It's in Iwate. I've spent a lot of time in the area and the news that there's even a chance to save the tree just made my heart swell and brought tears to my eyes. I want to see it saved. And I will donate to the cause.

Mayor Futoshi Toba of RikuzenTakada, who lost his wife in the tsunami, along with friends and colleagues, posts to Facebook daily. His posts are translated into English and French as well. If anyone is interested in knowing what's going on in the disaster area, and what it's like to be struggling to balance the rebuilding with the loss, I'd highly recommend reading his daily feeds.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Surely there's a large antiseptic producing company and/or gardening company that can do this for a bit of a discount? Demanding over $1m to treat a tree sounds like someone is taking advantage of the situation.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Take a cutting from a healthy branh of the tee, a wee bit of rooting hormone,with a bit of TLC it will be fine. Then donate the cash you want to raise to a cause in the area that will truly flourish

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Save the tree as It is a momument of hope and a soul survivor of the disater

Must agree though with tapetptape the cost seems excessive.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

This is absolutely ridiculous. The authorities, once again, cannot seem to get their priorities right. There are much more important things which desperately need attention and they want more than $1M to save one tree. I love nature and all that, but 70,000 trees have gone - one more won't kill this planet. There must be a cheaper way, or does the $1M include expenses for the middlemen and local politicians?

-2 ( +3 / -6 )

Let the tree live or die on its own.. dont spend one penny

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

If it's from donations, then let them go for it. Personally, though, I think $1.1 million for a tree that's likely to die soon after treatement any way is excessive. They would also have to treat all the surrounding soil and make sure the water source is okay, etc. I agree with those above -- let nature decide if the tree lives or dies.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

How many trees can a million dollars buy? Instead of one symbolic tree they could have a small bunch of trees symbolizing the rebirth of Rikuzentakata; a Rebirth Park, as it were. However, if a million people want to donate 90 yen each, I applaud their efforts.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

I like borscht's Rebirth idea. Money much better spent IMHO. Personally, saving that one tree, no matter how symbolic, is not where I'd like to see my taxes go. Donations? All well and good. But the government better keep it's grubby hands from pilfering people's pockets more than it already has to fund ridiculous projects. As for symbolism... the idea of pouring money into something that is already dying, prolonging the inevitable, well... kind of speaks for itself doesn't it? Fukushima Reactor symbolic dichotomy?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

In other news, they have already decided that this tree is untreatable. They want to preserve it as a reminder of the disaster and the hope people saw in it when it was found standing among the debris. Living or dead, this tree will stand as a monument of hope for the people of that area. I think that is a good cause, although I agree it is a bit too costly.

BTW, they are trying to grow clones of this tree and trying other means to revive the forest.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

The tree has produced 5 saplings already. They now want to throw good money after a symbolic gesture that is purely in the imaginations of the people spending the money.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I do not do Facebook but will check the page. I am willing to donate for this symbol of survival and hope.

Though in time of disaster physical survival comes first, keeping hope alive in the days, months and years after that is equally important.

Obviously the local people see this tree as a symbol of survival and hope. Why noy support them in this way too?

Even if they cannot save the tree, I hope they will manage to grow others using genetic material from this one.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

90 million yen for......a tree?????????

Wahahaha

Comon make a better excuse to ask for money and ffs spend it on housing or what not.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Seriously, spending a million bucks for some superstition...

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

What are these town people thinking? Spending money to save a pine tree. Are they nuts?? Spend the money on the people that need it; you can cut the pine tree and use it as firewood!!

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

The town people need to rethink about that pine tree. People needs must come first. To ask the public for contribution to save a tree, when all are suffering from this earthquake and tsunami, strikes me as ill-placed priority.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

If the tree is dying, that would hardly make it a miracle. It was pure chance that the tree survived the tsunami.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

If it's a "miracle tree" it shouldn't need and help.

Distribute the 90 million yen to the people who lost everything in the disaster. Don't use it for some stupid tree.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

there we go.... welfare tor trees... exactly what country with debt twice of GDP needs!

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

Why dont they let it die... make some fabulous items out of it, and then auction these items to raise funds for the affected area?????????

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

The Miracle Pine is a symbol of 'Hope and Survival' and spreads out that message around the world so its worth more than 90 million yen.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

There were 69,999 other trees, the wood of which has been used for all manner of "souvenir" goods. And there's still a lot of it left.

If you get a chance to travel north, and I do recommend it, you can see that the entire city of Rikuzen Takada was wiped clean. Only a few concrete shells remain and they're being taken down now. This one tree is really an awesome, spine tingling sight. And very moving for the people who knew the place when it was famous for it's coastal pine forest. I never saw it like that.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

This amount is so amazing that I immediately looked for a Japanese source to confirm it, but could not find any? Does someone has a link?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The Miracle Pine is a symbol of 'Hope and Survival' and spreads out that message around the world so its worth more than 90 million yen.

Tell that to the people who lost their homes and need some of that money.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Yes, the tree is important and we shall contribute. When all the dust has settled, this tree promises to be a huge tourist attraction, minting millions of yen on end and paying back money spent on it...so it is value for moeny and win-win! However 90 million yen is a bit on the high. ...I think this must be a corrupt city offficial seizing the moment to cash in. I suggest a project under University of Tokoy's plant pathology department be initiated through which, money should be channelled. You may be surprised it costs less than half that money.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Why don't we concentrate on PEOPLE before trees?

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

some 70,000 pines which were swept away after a tsunami

Why don't they go to Washington state and pick them up?

the tree....the sole survivor

not really a survivor, just expiring at a slower rate.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

I get the sentiments about people being more important than trees, and I also get that 90 million yen might be more than it's worth, but let's remember that this is the people of Rikuzentakata themselves who want to see this tree saved. This isn't a decision made by beaurocrats in Tokyo. Honestly, I think it's very insensitive for people who were unaffected by the disaster to try to tell victims that they're being too sentimental.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

There is no money for children? But a tree get attention? Guess it has no future vote and is a safe bet?

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

It's tempting to just go and chop the thing down, and place a sign on the stump: 'Now that's taken care of go give some young families a hand!'

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Honestly, I think it's very insensitive for people who were unaffected by the disaster to try to tell victims that they're being too sentimental.

Grow up. Money doesn't grow on trees.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Its a tree people please there are more important things than a silly tree. Maybe with the 90 million yen you could plant one tree for each of the 1500 people killed in this city. Or better yet you could put the money to better us and support the community. Seriously its a tree arnt there bigger priorities?

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

As Taj said.

Rikuzentakata was wiped off the map, when we first went up in early April we logged the devastation at 7 km from the coast.

You can't underestimate the symbolism of this tree. It's a heck of a lot of money but the money will be coming from donations from people who want to save the tree. There are countless other projects going on where people can donate to anything they want to and if they raise the money they will save the free.

It is an extraordinary amount of money. But then again, what price is hope?

4 ( +6 / -2 )

I think, though I'm not positive about it, that this report is a bit outdated. Last I heard, the tree was toast.... too much seawater bringing salt to the soil. Some people have taken sprigs from the tree and are growing them, some have talked about preserving the tree even if it isn't living, some have talked about various memorials, some have talked about selling bonds(?for reconstruction, I think) with the tree as a symbol. I don't know...I read about this a while ago, and even at that time, nobody expected this particular tree to live, no matter what they do. It IS a symbol, and an important one, and it, or its saplings, WILL be used as such in some way, I think.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

If people want to donate money to save the tree, let them. Who are we to pour cold water on their hopes and beliefs? People need hope and they want symbols of hope... that tree is one such symbol.

Heda - does that town no longer exist?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

It's still there but anything on low ground 7 km from the shore has gone. The land has dropped as well so some houses are below sea level and in the sea. There are hills and some houses are there but we drove countless 'expected tsunami inundation are ends' signs and they were wrong.

I'll never forget Rikuzentakata for as long as I live. It was a tough drive, tougher than any other one I did (though I never went to Ishinomaki or Minami Sanriku. We needed that beer when we got home and I'd love to go back in the future when it's a town again and when the supermarket has it'a floors instead of three floors that had been washed out.

I'm sure that Taj will tell you the same. But the people of that town, living in the shelters, spent days and months looking over what was their town. And I for one have no desire to criticise them for trying to raise enough money for this one small gesture of hope.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

The 350 year old pine forest was a tourist attraction. This lone tree, if it survives, will be one as well. A sad one, like that warped builiding left standing in Hiroshima as a memorial. In a hundred years or so, it's off-spring (cuttings) may become a forest, once again.

What I want to say to those thinking only about the money is that investment now to save this tree, can bring commercial benefits in the future, though I don't see that being as critical as the immediate .... spiritual? (I hate to use that word) symbolic? meaning. The locals see the tree as themselves. Surving, in the midst of loss. And it was devastating news when it was first announce that it was dying.

If you google: 陸前高田 がんばっぺし you'll see the "mark" of the city. This tree has become the symbol of the town.

http://www.yagisawa-s.co.jp/ http://www.banriikku.com/products/detail.php?product_id=1683 http://www.i-wa-i.jp/article/14416868.html (Slightly different variation)

I love the place and like Heda, will also never forget it. The people are moved to the surounding hills. Factories are also being rebuilt further away. The fields we dug drainage ditches out of are being de-salinated, but aren't yet being farmed. The people are amazing.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Olivier Paumier: Yes this is also covered by the local media. Not massively, but includes NHK as well. The city has already created postal stamps of the pine tree which seems to be gradually gaining attention. The whole scheme is clearly to turn this into a touristic must-see thing which I guess may eventually help them recover. Should depend on how one looks at it.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

What price hope, Heda_Madness? Looks like abut Y90,000,000. I say, let it die naturally and join its brothers in Splinterville. Then, make a bronze reconstruction of the tree for a lot less.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Why can't the antiseptic be donated????

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Taj and a few others nailed it friends; "The locals see the tree as themselves....", "You can't underestimate the symbolism of this tree." & "this is the people of Rikuzentakata themselves who want to see this tree saved." I spent the better part of last year doing PTSD relief work in Tohoku including a fair amount of time in Rikuzentakata. Clearly the majority of people posting here, those fixated on the price tag, have not been to Tohoku let alone Rikuzentakata. On one hand I find their insensitivity deeply offensive, but on the other, it is totally understandable, after all it IS a lot of money. That said, the scope of the damage and the depth of the trauma is something that those who haven't experienced it, just can not wrap their brains around let alone their hearts.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

The "locals" are the ones that got the taxpayers money. The attitude of "it's my money, how I spend it is my biz" doesn't count if you got taxpayers dole.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

For those who feel this is a great waste of money I have only one suggestion. Travel to Rikuzentakata and see for yourself the complete devastation that is still visible there. I spent the 1 year anniversary of the disaster there to see it for myself and I spent a few hours at this tree and observing the people visiting it. I watched people pray at it's base, I watched people smile a little just to see it still standing, and when I looked across the town from a high inland place that tree really stood out as something alive. For you it is just a tree and the donations might seem like a waste of money, but those who live there see it as something more. This tree is a symbol of hope, and they feel that if it dies, their will to rebuild will die as well. If you don't wish to donate that's your choice and nobody is going to criticize or think less of you. For those who can give a little please do, and if you can go visit Rikuzentakata and spend a little money in the few businesses that remain.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Olivier Paumier: This amount is so amazing that I immediately looked for a Japanese source to confirm it, but could not find any? Does someone has a link?

http://www.iwate-np.co.jp/cgi-bin/topnews.cgi?20120529_2

Travel to Rikuzentakata and see for yourself the complete devastation that is still visible there.

That’s what the mayor has been saying. They say they don’t want to be forgotten.

“We would love for you to visit us… If you have time during Golden Week or summer vacation, please come for a visit… Please, everyone, please do come to this disaster area… We welcome you. We would like for you to see our city. We do not want to be forgotten. This is our hope.”

http://www.city.rikuzentakata.iwate.jp/english/english.html

2 ( +2 / -0 )

How about spending $1.1 million dollars instead on planting new trees? If that tree dies then sections of it could be auctioned off to raise money for reconstruction. $1.1 million dollars is too much to spend on any one tree.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It's a relief that the later comments here tend to comprehend the matter.

I knew Monty, the American JET who died in Rikuzentakata. Not particularly well, but I do remember talking to him briefly on two occasions. I can clearly recall his face now, though I don't remember what exactly we were talking about. I regret not getting to know him better, because I knew him well enough that his passing that day really hurts me. I imagine we both felt similarly safe and assured right after the earthquake, and yet things turned out tragically different. I might or might not ever be okay with it.

But hey, pamelot says I should grow up!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I knew Monty, the American JET who died in Rikuzentakata. Not particularly well, but I do remember talking to him briefly on two occasions. I can clearly recall his face now, though I don't remember what exactly we were talking about. I regret not getting to know him better, because I knew him well enough that his passing that day really hurts me. I imagine we both felt similarly safe and assured right after the earthquake, and yet things turned out tragically different. I might or might not ever be okay with it.

@ Airion:

No offense, no one is minimizing your grief, or your story, but what does it have to do with spending a little over a million dollars, on a tree?

Local government is taking donations for a tree, yet can't get it together to make a plan for their town's future/ survival!

They ought to use donations to procure planners, and designers, to get plans drawn-up so as to collect the "rebuild funds" that wait for an infrastructure plan...

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

What makes you think there aren't also plans for recovery? You pulled that notion out of nowhere. Efforts to save the tree are in addition to all of that, not in place of it. Maybe it doesn't reach Japan Today, but I read about such plans every day in the newspaper.

The point I want to make is, there's more to recovery than just rebuilding homes, as it was a lot more than just buildings that were lost. 1500 people died in Rizukentakata and no amount of rebuilt homes will make up for that, nor heal the grief of those of knew them. Efforts to build memorials (or preserve them in this case) helps in that regard, to the extent it can.

Have you ever been to a memorial or funeral for a friend, family member, teacher, etc? Did you think that was a waste of money too? Probably not. That's what this is about.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

What makes you think there aren't also plans for recovery?

No evidence...

Have you ever been to a memorial or funeral for a friend, family member, teacher, etc? Did you think that was a waste of money too?

Dial back the mawkish, ok?

After all the already donated cash, and continued taxes taken towards "the recovery", I'm sure I'm not alone in wishing for evidence of positive results in the works...

A government facebook page looking to save the "twee" is not it.

Why can't the antiseptic be donated????

I think that is a brilliant question.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I rest my case. I think you're alone on this pamelot.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

FYI, for more information about Rikuzentakata's recovery plan, please read or Google the newspaper: the Iwate Nippo.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

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