The monument for the Iwate miracle tree, which as you might remember was the only pine tree out of 70,000 left standing following the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, is finally nearing completion. The project, though, has not been without its fair share of troubles.

After it was pointed out that the monument looked different from before it was cut down, adjustments began to make more accurate. Work is expected to be finished at the end of June and the completion ceremony will then be carried out at the beginning of July.

At over 80 feet tall, the lone tree was, unfortunately, afflicted by the massive amount of salt deposited by the tsunami and died 18 months after the disaster. The city of Rikuzentakata has collected 125,000,000 yen (US$1,237,466) in donations to “rebuild” the tree as a monument, though the total amount actually needed is 150,000,000 yen (US$1,484,951). The adjustments will not affect the total cost of rebuilding the tree.

The trunk of the tree was specially treated to prevent further decay and a metal skeleton was inserted to help maintain its form. A replica of the upper branches and leaves was created and then set atop the trunk, giving a total height of 27 meters (about 88.6 feet). The top of the tree, which includes the replica branches and leaves, is made of two pieces and held together with three joints.

Though area residents seem pleased with the monument, Internet commenters aren’t so happy. Many have called it a “waste of money” and insisted that the mayor and other officials are embezzling some of it. One commenter went so far as to suggest that the city mayor and officials should be fired without severance. Another heartless rapscallion even said that it was a waste of money “on par with a Wii U.”

To get a glimpse of how the tree was “rebuilt”, check out the following video.

While the costs are certainly high, we look forward to the project reaching completion. The monument certainly cannot undo any of the tragedy, but it does stand as a symbol of hope for the future, and for that we can all be glad.

Source: Sankei News, Hachima Kikou