Children help plant 600 pine trees to revive coastal forest in Soma city

A project began on Nov. 10 to revive a scenic coastal pine tree forest in the Matsukawa-ura lagoon area in Soma city that was washed away by tsunami in the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake. A planting ceremony was held at the Osu national forest in Matsukawa-ura, with local children and other participants planting Japanese black pine seedlings in the hope of reconstructing their hometown. This was the first seedling planting activity to restore national forests in the coastal areas of Fukushima Prefecture since the disaster. The central government's Iwaki regional forest station plans to plant about 600,000 trees, including Japanese black pines that are resistant to pests and diseases, to make coastal disaster-prevention forests covering an area of about 60 hectares by fiscal 2021. The project is supported by the Yamato Welfare Foundation and other partners. Joining the inaugural planting were about 150 people, including children from Isobe elementary school, Isobe kindergarten and Minato nursery school. They planted about 600 seedlings by hand. Koichi Shida, head of the Kanto Regional Forest Office, and Soma Mayor Hidekiyo Tachiya were among officials who put up a commemorative pole for the planting project. Rina Suzuki, a sixth-grade schoolgirl who took part in the event, said, "I hope the forest will grow to become a place to relax and be useful for disaster prevention." (Translated by Kyodo News)