Sakura in blossom

An avenue of sakura has been planted in Minsk

An avenue of sakura has been planted in Minsk. 120 saplings presented by Japanese JT are now growing in the Friendship of Nations Park, symbolising neighbourly relations between Belarus and Japan

‘Hanami’ — or the process of enjoying sakura — is among Japan’s best-known traditions. Depending on the weather, blossoming can last up to several weeks, or just a few days. “Even a minor wind can dislodge sakura flowers, leaving the ground carpeted with white petals, reminding us of the transiency of life and beauty,” noted Irina Lampe, of the Hagakure Public Association of Oriental Culture and Traditions, speaking at the opening of the avenue.

The tradition may find its place in Belarus, especially as the avenue is symbolically located near the Victims of Chernobyl memorial and the Stone of Peace of Hiroshima (located near the chapel honouring the Mother of God’s In Search of the Perishing icon).

The Deputy Emergency Minister, Gennady Lasuta, commented, “This event confirms our common radiation problems and adherence to openness for the international community in this sphere, as well as readiness to render all possible assistance to states which face similar challenges.” The Charge d’Affaires of Japan to Belarus, Takao Asamura, expressed hope that our sad experience would strengthen our countries’ aspiration to make the world more secure for future generations.

Japan was among the first to help Belarus after the Chernobyl disaster. As the Deputy Head of the Department for Liquidation of the Consequences of the Chernobyl NPP Catastrophe, Nikolay Tsybulko, tells us, Japan now sends around $100,000 annually to Belarus’ affected areas, via technical aid. After the Fukushima-1 tragedy, Belarus also responded. Since 2001, over 500 Japanese specialists have visited Belarus, wishing to study our experience in tackling the consequences of the nuclear disaster, deactivating the territory and ensuring radiation protection for the population.

By Nadezhda Dementieva
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