23 October 2013, Hiroshima, Japan - The UNITAR Hiroshima Office, in collaboration with ANT-Hiroshima, recently held a Public Session that examined the continued efforts of Green Legacy Hiroshima to spread worldwide seeds and saplings of Hiroshima’s A-Bomb survivor trees. The Public Session served as an opportunity to reflect on the deeper meaning and message of A-bomb survivor trees, and was attended by more than 100 representatives of the wider Hiroshima community.

Green Legacy Hiroshima was established in July 2011. It aims to work with many diverse people and communities – those striving for a world free  from nuclear threats, those committed to a greener planet, those hoping to honor and remember victims of wars past and present, or those simply wanting to create peace gardens in their communities. Launched as a volunteer initiative a few months after the catastrophic 2011 Tohoku Region earthquake, tsunami and nuclear accident, and with institutional support by UNITAR and ANT-Hiroshima, Green Legacy Hiroshima has quickly found resonance among a wide range of individuals and institutions in Hiroshima and around the world: seeds or saplings of the A-Bomb survivor trees now grow in about 20 countries.

The Public Session opened with a presentation by Nassrine Azimi, UNITAR Senior Advisor, examining the vision and action of Green Legacy Hiroshima to date, including an outline of some of the countries to which seeds and saplings have successfully been sent. This was followed by Mr. Chikara Horiguchi, Arborist, outlining the specific genus of the survivor trees, and the methods of their propagation. Noted Hiroshima Architect and Atomic-bomb Survivor, Mr. Akio Nishikori then examined Hiroshima’s recovery and the formation of urban beauty.

Professor Masakazu Suzuki, of Tsukuba University, followed with an outline of his research into the trees themselves, in particular the fact that some 80% of survivor trees with a single trunk lean toward the hypocenter. Professor Suzuki proposes that this is due to the fact that cells on the side of the trunk facing the hypocenter were damaged by the bomb’s heat rays and radiation, making the exposed side grow more slowly than the other. A question and answer period concluded the Public Session.

The Public Session as well as the findings of Professor Suzuki were covered by the Chugoku Shimbun newspaper in a number of articles in Japanese (12) and English.