Emperor and Empress, during visit to Tohoku region, attend their last national tree-planting event
Japan Times -- Jun 11
Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko attended an annual national tree-planting festival, the last such event for the couple, in the tsunami-hit city of Minamisoma, Fukushima Prefecture, on Sunday.

The ceremony was held at a site in the city's Shidoke coastal district, where trees are being planted in an effort to prevent damage if a powerful tsunami strikes.

At the beginning of the 69th national tree-planting festival, the Imperial couple and other participants offered silent prayers for victims of the March 2011 giant tsunami triggered by a 9.0 magnitude earthquake that mainly struck Fukushima and two other prefectures in the Tohoku region.

The Emperor and Empress planted saplings of six species, including Japanese black and red pines, and sowed seeds of four species of trees.

The couple watched saplings of Chinese hackberry being planted at the site. The hackberry saplings were grown from seeds collected at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo and passed from Nagano Prefecture to Toyama Prefecture and then to Fukushima as a symbol of post-disaster reconstruction. Nagano and Toyama hosted the 67th tree-planting festival in 2016 and the 68th festival last year.

福島県を訪問中の天皇皇后両陛下は最後となる「全国植樹祭」の式典に出席されました。 「第69回全国植樹祭」は10日午後、東日本大震災で大きな被害を受けた福島県南相馬市で開催されました。
News sources: Japan Times, ANNnewsCH
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