Norwegian princess to plant seeds from Hiroshima trees in Oslo ahead of Nobel ceremony

Princess Ingrid Alexandra of Norway on Saturday will plant seeds from trees that survived the 1945 U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima at a botanical garden in Oslo, a day before the Nobel Peace Prize award ceremony there.

The 13-year-old granddaughter of King Harald V will plant the seeds handed to her by Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui at the University of Oslo garden in a ceremony to be attended by Akira Kawasaki, a member of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICANN), the group that won this year’s Nobel Peace Prize for advocating a treaty outlawing nuclear weapons.

 Nagasaki Mayor Tomihisa Taue and more than 20 A-bomb survivors will also attend the ceremony, according to the organizers.

The seeds taken from ginkgo, Japanese hackberry, holly and jujube trees that withstood the bombing despite being near ground zero in downtown Hiroshima will be presented to the garden at its request, according to Green Legacy Hiroshima Initiative, a civic group that works to conserve trees that survived the attack.

A 17-meter ginkgo tree, in a garden about 1.4 km (about 1 mile) from the hypocenter, is estimated to be more than 200 years old. Its bark is scarred from radiation and its foliage is sparse, but it still turns yellow each fall.

“These trees are precious because, like the hibakusha, they were hurt but survived the bombing. I hope (the ceremony) will provide a chance to build a better future in which we abolish nuclear weapons and live together with nature,” said Tomoko Watanabe, 64, a coordinator for the civic group.

In the ceremony, the princess will also be given a book on Sadako Sasaki, a Hiroshima survivor who continued to fold paper cranes during her struggle against leukemia until she died at the age of 12 in 1955, a decade after she was first exposed to radiation.

(japantimes)