A tree-planting festival that had been postponed earlier due to the coronavirus crisis took place in Oda, Shimane Prefecture on Sunday with Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako attending the event remotely from their residence in Tokyo.

The couple’s Akasaka imperial residence in the capital’s Minato district and Mount Sanbe in Shimane town, the site of the 71st National Tree Planting Festival, was linked by video.

Expressing his respect and gratitude to the people who are working tirelessly to contain the coronavirus crisis, Emperor Naruhito said, “Passing on precious forests to future generations in healthy form is our core mission.

The emperor also said it was unfortunate that he was unable to visit Oda’s location in person.

For the event, a Japanese black pine that was planted on Mount Sanbe by Emperor Hirohito during the 22nd National Tree Planting Festival in 1971 and previously attended by the current Emperor when he was Crown Prince was transported to the premises of the imperial residence. .

The emperor cut part of a 12-meter-long branch from the tree using a saw. Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako then planted young cedars and saplings of yamazakura, a kind of cherry tree, in wooden boxes that will be sent later to the city of Shimane.

Emperor Hirohito is the grandfather of the current Emperor and known posthumously as Emperor Showa.

Amid the coronavirus crisis, Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako interacted online with people across the country, including those who survived the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami in the Tohoku region. .

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