Easter Island gift for tsunami-hit town arrives in Japan

March 21, 2013

THE ASAHI SHIMBUN

A statue built on Chile’s Easter Island for a town devastated by the 2011 tsunami has landed in Japan, a symbol of the long-standing friendship between the two disaster-prone areas.

The 3-meter-tall, 2-ton replica of a Moai statue was unveiled on March 20 at the Marunouchi Building in Tokyo’s Chiyoda Ward. Jin Sato, mayor of Minami-Sanriku, Miyagi Prefecture, and graduates of Shizugawa Senior High School in the town were in attendance.

The exhibition runs through March 28.

The statue will also be on display in Osaka from May 2 to 9 before it is presented to Minami-Sanriku on May 25.

The town’s connection with Chile dates back to 1960, when a huge earthquake struck the South American country and sent a tsunami across the Pacific Ocean that damaged the Japanese coastal town.

Minami-Sanriku in 1991 received a replica Moai statue from Chile as a symbol of disaster prevention awareness and friendship. But the head of the statue was washed away in the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011.

Residents of Easter Island, famed for its many Moai statues, volunteered to make a replacement. The gift was carved from stone on the island.

THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
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A replica of a Moai statue is displayed at the Marunouchi Building in Tokyo’s Chiyoda Ward on March 20. It is a gift from Chile to the tsunami-devastated town of Minami-Sanriku, Miyagi Prefecture. (Takaharu Yagi)

A replica of a Moai statue is displayed at the Marunouchi Building in Tokyo’s Chiyoda Ward on March 20. It is a gift from Chile to the tsunami-devastated town of Minami-Sanriku, Miyagi Prefecture. (Takaharu Yagi)

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  • A replica of a Moai statue is displayed at the Marunouchi Building in Tokyo’s Chiyoda Ward on March 20. It is a gift from Chile to the tsunami-devastated town of Minami-Sanriku, Miyagi Prefecture. (Takaharu Yagi)

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