Clinging to life and giving hope to some of the survivors in Rikuzentakata, on the coast of Iwate prefecture, this tree is the solitary pine tree left standing in the town. There had been over 70,000 in the area pre-tsunami.
Now, though, the miracle pine is joining Facebook. [edit – have a look at the page, here]
The local government is taking the step into social media – a page will be launched on July 5th – in an effort to raise what it says is the 90 million yen (about US$1.1m) needed for “antiseptic treatment” for the tree, reports AFP. Salt damage to the roots may cause difficulty in reviving the tree’s fortunes but the ordeal could be worth it. It may be tough to justify spending such a sum on one tree, with many more issues in the area needing to be resolved, including the permanent re-housing of local people, which is still ongoing.
Fifteen hundred people in Rikuzentakata alone lost their lives in the disaster and, although this is only one tree, some people – including the local authorities in the town, it seems – are thought to see its significance as a memorial. Some local scientists, reports the Asahi Shimbun, are even investigating the possibilitys of cloning a sapling from the tree.