Yokohama, residents plant 5,000 trees in Otsuchi-cho
The Yokohama Rubber Co., Ltd., carried out a "Heisei Forest" tree planting event on 18 May to support recovery of Otsuchi-cho, Kamihei-gun, Iwate prefecture, one of the areas affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake. 553 participants, including 160 Otsuchi-cho residents, planted about 5,000 broad-leaved evergreen seedlings indigenous to the local area. Together with guests, including Otsuchi Mayor Yutaka Ikarigawa, representatives of supporting companies, Dr. Akira Miyawaki (plant ecologist) and former F1 driver Ukyo Katayama, 245 people from Yokohama Rubber attended the event, including chairman and CEO Tadanobu Nagumo, President Hikomitsu Noji and 54 employee volunteers.
Otsuchi-cho promotes creation of “Forests That Protect Lives” as part of its recovery plan. In support, on April 30, 2012, Yokohama Rubber carried out a model-forest tree planting in the town under its Yokohama Forever Forest Project. This day’s event was the second-phase planting. A new 250-metre extension was created to the 50-metre mound where seedlings were planted last year, and the planting this time was in a 50-metre portion of the new mound. Hereafter, Yokohama Rubber will carry out further tree plantings in 50-meter areas each year, completing planting of the 300-meter mound by 2017, the year the company will mark its 100th anniversary. The first-phase model forest was renamed “Heisei Forest” – from “Forever Forest” – so the great earthquake that occurred in the Heisei perio will be remembered.
The Yokohama Rubber Group has been carrying out the Yokohama Forever Forest Project since 2007, largely on the initiative of its employees, under the guidance of Dr. Akira Miyawaki, plant ecologist and professor emeritus of Yokohama National University. Conceived by him, “Forests That Protect Lives” is an effort to create “genuine” or “native” forests that will withstand tsunami along the 300-kilometer Pacific coast in the Tohoku region. Dr. Miyawaki advocates effective use of disaster debris in mounds created for planting.