The city of Rikuzentakata in Iwate Prefecture started on Wednesday moving the so-called “miracle pine” tree, which survived after an entire forest of some 70,000 pines was swept away by last year’s tsunami, in order to prevent it from dying.
The roots of the tree were recently found to be dying from exposure to seawater.
The local authorities previously announced they are seeking funds to save the tree and they even opened a Facebook page to ask for donations.
The project to save the “miracle pine” is estimated to cost around Y150 million. The city will give anti-decay treatments to the plant before moving it back at its original site.
During the operation, branches of the 27-meter tall tree will be cut off before its trunk will be divided into three sections for ease of transportation, Kyodo reported.
The surviving tree is seen by the local community as a symbol for resilience in a city where about 1,500 people were killed last year by a tsunami wave of up to ten meters.