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FROM THE ARCHIVES: Helping nature restore Japan’s tsunami-battered coast

This story first appeared in The Straits Times on March 10, 2012

Published on Mar 11, 2014 5:23 PM

RIKUZENTAKATA (Iwate prefecture) - Mrs Takako Niinuma used to play among the thousands of pine trees that were the proudest feature of Rikuzentakata. One year after the March 11 earthquake, just one tree remains, the rest cut off at head height by the mighty tsunami that battered this coast.

But the remaining tree is also ultimately doomed as sea water has rotted its roots.

“I have black-and-white photos of me as a child when the trees were quite small, but it looks completely different without them,” says Mrs Niinuma.

Undeterred, the 75-year-old has vowed to return the Takata Matsubara forest, designated in 1927 as one of the 100 best landscapes of Japan, to its former glory for the sake of future generations.

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