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Dogwood trees head for Japan as friendship symbol

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Dogwood trees head for Japan as friendship symbol

WASHINGTON — A ceremony was held Monday at the National Arboretum in Washington to send 3,000 dogwood trees from the United States to Japan as a symbol of bilateral friendship for the next 100 years, in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the donation of 3,000 blossoming cherry trees from Tokyo to Washington in 1912.

The first 139 trees are already en route to Japan. Of these, 100 will be planted in Tokyo’s Yoyogi Park on Nov. 16. Many of the trees to follow will be planted in areas in the Tohoku region that were affected by last year’s March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

“I hope that these trees will symbolize friendship, but also resilience,” a senior State Department official said.

Ambassador Ichiro Fujisaki expressed Japan’s gratitude for the gift during the ceremony, noting the special significance it will hold for the people in the devastated regions of Tohoku.

“I think this will encourage a lot of people there,” he said.

Dogwood blossoms are small and consist of four showy petal-like bracts, usually snow white or pink. The state tree of Virginia, which borders the U.S. capital, the dogwood symbolizes durability, while in Japan it symbolizes the reciprocal giving of a present.

The Friendship Blossoms Initiative, under which 3,000 U.S. dogwood trees will be planted in Japan from 2012 through 2015, was first announced by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton during Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda’s official visit to the U.S. in April.

The gift, arranged under the auspices of the State Department and the U.S.-Japan Bridging Foundation, a nonprofit body that grants scholarships to U.S. students to study in Japan, commemorates the donation of cherry trees to the United States by Tokyo Mayor Yukio Ozaki in 1912.


Written by vaphc

October 24, 2012 at 5:04 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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