Press Briefing on Natori Coastal Forest Restoration Project
This March marks the fifth year anniversary since the Great East Japan Earthquake which devastated the Pacific Coast area in the Tohoku region in 2011. On February 10, 2016, OISCA was invited to give a press briefing on its 10-year project to restore the costal forest in Natori, Miyagi Prefecture at the NIHON KISHA CLUB (Japan National Press Club: JNPC), Japan’s only national press organization which counts as its members all the national and local daily newspapers, TV and radio broadcasting companies, news agencies and other media.
Mr. Toshimichi Yoshida, Deputy Director, OISCA’s Division for Domestic Operations, who is responsible for the overall operations of the project in Natori and Mr. Shigeo Sakurai, Vice-President of the Association for Coastal Forest Restoration in Natori City, a group comprising the disaster-hit local residents, talked to about 25 participants in the briefing held at the Club house in Tokyo.
Mr. Yoshida presented an overview of the project with the aid of visual materials and reported on the progress achieved since it was launched five years ago. Representing the disaster-affected local farmers, Mr. Sakurai talked about his vivid experience in the tsunami disaster, why he decided to join the project and the current living of growing vegetables and fruits such as quingencai, Japanese mustard spinach and melons on the rented land.
In the subsequent Q & A session, a journalist asked questions to Mr. Yoshida about the relationship between the tall embankments now under construction and seashore forests, differences between the OISCA project and the tree-planting scheme promoted by Prof. Akira Miyawaki, while to Mr. Sakurai was asked if there are any local farmers who have not participated in the project and if he plans to start new agricultural activities in order to deal with the challenges posed by TTP.
Since the start of the project in 2011, OISCA Japan and the members of the Association for Coastal Forest Restoration Project in Natori City raised and planted a total of 130,000 seedlings of black pine and indigenous species over the 16-hectare site along the coastal area. The project will go on up until 2020 with a total budget of 1 billion yen to be raised primarily through donations from the private sector.