The “miracle pine” that survived the earthquake and tsunami in March 2011 will be completely restored at the end of June in Rikuzentakata, Iwate Prefecture, the city government said on Thursday.
The local authorities first intended to end the restoration work by March 11, the second anniversary of the earthquake-tsunami disaster that devastated vast areas of northeastern Japan. However, fixing the mounting angles of replica branches and leaves requested more time than initially estimated, according to Kyodo news agency.
After the tsunami hit the city of Rikuzentakata, the 88-foot pine remained the only one standing of a forest of about 70,000 trees. But one year and a half after the tsunami, the pine eventually died due to high levels of saline introduced into its environment.
However, the tree has been artificially restored in a project to preserve it. It was felled and giant molds were created to again form the trunk and branches as they stood when the tree was alive.
The surviving tree is seen by the local community as a symbol for resilience in a city where about 1,500 people were killed in 2011 by a tsunami wave of up to ten meters.