by Staff Writers
Tokyo (AFP) May 25, 2013
A giant statue from Chile's Easter Island on Saturday found a new home in a small tsunami-devastated Japanese town where it will become a symbol for its recovery.
The new statue, with coral eyes and a stone hat, was erected near the town's shopping area, where makeshift stores now operate after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami destroyed almost the entire town.
The three-metre (10-foot) Moai statue is a gift from Chile, which pledged to supply a new statue to the fishing community of Minami Sanriku after the town's original was destroyed in the disaster.
"We can see the Moai in this town every day from now," said mayor Jin Sato, quoted by Jiji Press news agency.
"It will be a big symbol for the recovery."
The town's link to Chile, some 17,000 kilometres (11,000 miles) away, dates back to 1960, when a 9.5 magnitude earthquake struck the South American country and killed more than 1,600 people.
The quake also sent a tsunami hurtling across the Pacific to Japan, where it claimed 142 lives -- more than a quarter of them in Minami Sanriku.
Decades later, after a visit from the Chilean ambassador, the Japanese town marked the connection by installing a replica Moai statue in a coastal park which local residents named Chile Plaza.
When the huge tsunami waves again swamped Minami Sanriku two years ago, the statue was toppled along with hundreds of buildings and its head was knocked off.
About 800 people were killed or missing in the once picturesque town, among nearly 19,000 nationwide.
After Chilean President Sebastian Pinera promised a "bigger, more magnificent and more beautiful" statue, the new Moai arrived in Japan on Christmas day last year.
It was exhibited in Tokyo and Osaka before being officially handed over to Minami Sanriku on Saturday.
Bringing Order To A World Of Disasters
When the Earth Quakes
A world of storm and tempest
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement|