Work starts to modify nearly restored "miracle pine" in Iwate

Work started Monday to modify the nearly restored "miracle pine" that survived the devastating tsunami in March 2011 in Rikuzentakata, Iwate Prefecture.

The tree has become a symbol of reconstruction in Rikuzentakata as it was the only one of about 70,000 pines on a stretch of coast there to survive the quake-triggered tsunami.

But its roots started dying due to exposure to seawater, prompting efforts to restore it.

Although the restoration was to be completed in March to meet the second anniversary of the earthquake-tsunami disaster, citizens' complaint that the nearly restored pine looked different from the original one has led the Rikuzentakata city government to modify it.

Angles of replica branches and leaves will be modified by the end of June before a ceremony in early July to celebrate the final restoration.

The city government has collected more than 125 million yen in donations for the restoration, which had been originally estimated to cost some 150 million yen. The modification will not affect the original cost estimate.