Japan: Flower growers putting the petals to the Olympic medals

Flower growers in northeastern Japan are reviving an Olympic tradition to symbolize the resilience and perseverance of not only the medal-winning athletes but also the disaster-stricken Tohoku region.

The Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games has decided to award all medalists a “victory bouquet” as an extra prize at the event next year.

The committee plans to feature flowers from the region devastated by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster, and it expects the Olympics to play a part in rebuilding from the triple disaster.

“It is encouraging and heartening for growers that our flowers will be featured in the Tokyo Games,” said Hiroshi Kawamura, a 63-year-old flower grower in Namie, Fukushima Prefecture.

The entire town of Namie was evacuated in the aftermath of the triple meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. Most areas of the town remain off-limits.

Read more at The Asahi Shimbun (Issei Sakakibara)

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