Japan to give Washington new cherry trees to replace ones lost to construction

Japan will give 250 new cherry trees to Washington, D.C., which is removing over 100 of its trees due to a construction project.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced the donation during a visit to the White House on Wednesday, about a month before 140 cherry trees will be removed to build a more secure sea wall around the Tidal Basin. This new construction is being done in order to protect the Thomas Jefferson Memorial and Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial.

“I am confident that the cherry blossom-like bond of the Japan-U.S. alliance will continue to grow even thicker and stronger, in the Indo-Pacific and in all corners of the world,” Kishida said.

President Joe Biden explained that Japan’s donation of 250 trees is meant to tie into the United States’s 250th anniversary, which is set for 2026.

Among the cherry trees set to be removed next month is Stumpy, a beloved tree that still blooms every year despite its disheveled appearance. The National Park Service has stated it will take clippings from Stumpy to create a new baby tree in the same location. 

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The construction of the Tidal Basin is being done as part of a $113 million refurbishment project, which includes repairs to the reservoir due to rising water levels and damage caused over time.

This refurbishment project will begin in May and will be completed in 2027.

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