Photo/Illutration“The lone pine of Kashima” is being lowered to the ground on the coast of the Kashima district of Minami-Soma, Fukushima Prefecture, on Dec. 27. (Yosuke Fukudome)

  • Photo/Illustraion

MINAMI-SOMA, Fukushima Prefecture--The only pine tree that survived the 2011 tsunami on a beach here and became a symbol of resilience was cut down on Dec. 27.

A ceremony was held on the beach in the city’s Kashima district to bid farewell to “the lone pine of Kashima.”

“We received great strength and moral support from you,” Kazuo Goga, 77, leader of a volunteer group that worked to preserve the tree, said in a speech at the ceremony.

The tree was one of tens of thousands planted along the beach for 3 kilometers north to south as a windbreak forest.

However, the Great East Japan Earthquake spawned a tsunami that washed away many of the trees on March 11, 2011. Other trees later died after being submerged in seawater for a prolonged period.

The sole survivor itself was visibly growing weaker.

The decision was made to fell the pine tree because the entire coastal area is scheduled to be tidied up for the creation of a new disaster prevention forest.

Wood from the tree will be used mainly for nameplates on the home of local residents.