A while back I had read that that Japan had sold special government bonds to raise funds for reconstruction work following the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami. These bonds would carry a lower rate of interest, but holders would be eligible to receive commemorative gold and silver coins to be issued in 2015.
Since this time, the Japan Ministry of Finance has decided on the designs for four separate series of 10,000-yen gold coins and 1,000-yen silver coins. The designs for the second to fourth series were decided following a public competition which received 2,673 entries from across the country.
All coins will feature the common design of a lone pine tree that survived the tsunami in Rikuzentakata. This “miracle pine,” which became a symbol of the reconstruction, is surrounded by pigeons.
The first series designs feature a depiction of the reconstruction special areas and pigeons for the gold coin and a depiction of a fishing boat and ears of rice for the silver coin.
The second series designs feature a school with carp streamers on the gold coin and a paper crane flying above the reconstruction areas during sunrise for the silver coin.
The third series gold coin features a scene including the reconstruction areas, the miracle pine, and a paper crane. The design for the silver coin, which was created by a 9-year-old boy, features a boy cheering for Japan and holding two flags.
The fourth and final series features a bird with natures bounty for the gold coin and an image of the Japanese islands shaking hands adorned with cherry blossom petals for the silver coin.
Each of the 10,000-yen gold coins have a weight of 15.6 grams (0.5 troy ounces) and diameter of 26 mm. Each of the 1,000-yen silver coins have a weight of 31.1 grams (1 troy ounce) and diameter of 40 mm. The coins will be issued in fiscal 2015 and the number of coins to be minted has not yet been determined.
The reconstruction bonds were offered for sale from March 5 to 30, 2012 and issued on April 15. The interest rate for the first three years will be 0.05 percent and will become a floating rate from the fourth year. One gold coin will be given for every 10 million yen ($113,000 USD) worth of reconstruction bonds held as of April 15, 2015. One silver coin will be given for every 1 million yen ($11,300) worth of bonds held as of the same date.
Early articles indicated that the coins would also be made available for sale to the public.