Crown Prince, Princess Plant Tree in Hokkaido, Meet School Athletes

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Crown Prince Akishino and Princess Kiko plant a tree with students from local elementary and junior high schools in Atsuma, Hokkaido, on Saturday.

Crown Prince Akishino and his wife Crown Princess Kiko planted a tree in the quake-hit town of Atsuma, Hokkaido.

Thirty-seven people died in Atsuma in the 2018 Eastern Iburi Earthquake. The crown prince and princess traveled on Saturday to the town’s Yoshino area, where 19 people were killed in a landslide.

They planted a tree in Tsutaeri Park, near the town government office, where a memorial cenotaph stands.

After the planting, the crown prince and princess approached town residents at the venue and spoke words of encouragement to them in an unscheduled talk.

“The prince and princess sympathized with us, as if they were affected by the earthquake, too,” said a 14-year-old third-year student of municipal Mukawa Junior High School who helped the couple plant the tree. “,That made me very happy.”

A 15-year-old third-year student of municipal Atsuma Junior High School said, “I hope the tree we planted today will get big and become a symbol of reconstruction from the disaster.”

Before traveling to Atsuma, the crown prince and princess met with high school students involved with the operation of this year’s Inter-High sports event.

The crown prince and princess met the students on Saturday at a Sapporo hotel, and thanked them for their contribution to the sports event, which is organized by the All Japan High School Athletic Federation. The students described their activities to promote Inter-High and the flower decorations they made for the opening ceremony.

An 18-year-old third-year student of Iwamizawa Agricultural High School said Prince Akishino told her that the flowers were beautiful.