The Mint of Japan has unveiled designs for the third series of Earthquake appeal reconstruction coins, scheduled to be officially launched early next year.
The coins—part of an set of four gold and four silver pieces issued annually—were originally inaugurated as part of the country’s efforts to raise public and private funds to aid reconstruction efforts following the devastating earthquake that struck the eastern coast of Japan in March of 2011. The quake’s epicenter was approximately 40 miles off of the Pacific coast of Tōhoku, triggering one of the worst tsunamis experienced in modern times; analysis showed that the earthquake was the fourth-strongest overall since records began. The resulting destruction was mostly experienced by the City of Fukushima, which documented nearly 16,000 deaths and the collapse of over 127,000 buildings and structures.
Another consequence of this disaster was a series of nuclear accidents, primarily the meltdowns at three reactors in the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant complex, resulting in the release of radioactive materials. This situation was classified as the second-greatest nuclear incident of its kind since the Chernobyl disaster of 1986, and was given the Level 7 event classification of the International Nuclear Event Scale.
Despite this immense natural disaster, the Japanese people gained the greatest admiration and the respect from people all over the world for their ability to cope with such exceptional circumstances, maintaining their resolve and determination to recuperate no matter what the difficulties were.
The two coins, one gold and one silver, include two new obverse designs. The gold obverse depicts an outline or map of the special zones targeted by local and national authorities for reconstruction, along with an Origami Crane, and what has been dubbed the Miracle Pine tree, found standing against all odds in one of the worst hit locations of Tōhoku.
The obverse of the silver coin depicts a simple crayon drawing of a young Japanese boy showing support for his country, proudly holding a flag of Japan each hand. The reverse design of both coins depicts a flock of doves flying past the miracle pine tree; the year of reign of the Emperor Taisho is seen in the legend as 27 below the primary design.
|1000 Yen||.999 silver||31.1 Grams||40 mm.||Proof & colour||35.086 pieces|
|10,000 Yen||.999 gold||15.6 Grams||26 mm.||Proof||9188 pieces|
The coins will have an allocation of just ten percent for foreign distribution—3,508 pieces for the 1000 Yen coin and 918 pieces for the 10,000 Yen piece. The Mint of Japan will begin accepting orders for these coins in early January, with issue and delivery of the coins expected in March 2016. A fourth and last series of earthquake relief coins will be issued in 2017.