Kosovo Ambassador Plants Japanese Cherry Trees “Sakura” Symbolising Kosovo-Japan FriendshipFukushima and Iwate Prefectures, 24 and 25 April 2019 – With the invitation of Japan Sakura Foundation, Ambassador of the Republic of Kosovo to Japan HE Mr Leon Malazogu was invited to the traditional Friendship Cherry Tree Planting Festival organised by the Japan Sakura Foundation.
This annual ceremony started in 1998 with the United States of America, following with Canada, the Republic of Korea, People’s Republic of China, until last year with the Republic of Philippines. Since 2019 marks the 10th Anniversary of the Diplomatic Relations between Kosovo and Japan, Kosovo was invited this year.
Ambassador Malazogu visited a few sites in Inawashiro (Fukushima Prefecture) and Ofunato (Iwate Prefecture) and planted sakura trees in ceremonies jointly with mayors, the political and business sectors and other dignitaries in both towns, as a symbol of the great relations and friendship between the two countries.
This event is a follow-up of the planting of the 30 cherry blossom trees in the capital city of Kosovo, Prishtina, also donated by the Japan Sakura Foundation. The event is supported by the Listel Group, a hotel chain and the Medical Corporation Shouku-kai.The ceremonies in both towns also invited two sakura queens, one from Japan and Dea Luma from Kosovo, who is completing her doctoral studies at the Tokyo University.
The Japanese cherry “sakura” has become a strong cultural icon which dates back hundreds of years. The sakura signifies the fragility and beauty of life, a reminder that life is beautiful but also short. The sakura has effectively served as a symbolic diplomatic connection promoting peace and cooperation between Japan and other countries.
In Inawashiro, Malazogu visited a facility for elderly care while in Ofunato he visited the City Hall where the met with the Mayor and the site of the devastation in 2011 where 2000 people lost their lives to tsunamis higher than 20 m tall.