The Straits Times
Published on Sep 12, 2012

Japan tsunami 'miracle pine' cut down, preserved


TOKYO (AFP) - A lone pine tree that stood as a symbol of hope in Japan, after surviving the huge tsunami that swept away a forest of 70,000, was being cut down on Wednesday in a bid to preserve it.

The tree, which came to be known as the "miracle pine", will be sliced into pieces and treated before being put back together, in a process expected to cost about 150 million yen (S$2.4 million).

A ritual reflecting the beliefs of Shintoism, Japan's animistic native religion, was carried out on the pine before the delicate process began on the shore at Rikuzentakata, a city badly hit by the March 2011 disaster.

"The process of cutting down could take two days or more, as we need to start cutting branches that can eventually be put back on the trunk," city official Shinya Kitajima told AFP.