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Dam alone could not have averted flooding of Kumagawa river

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Kumamoto Governor Ikuo Kabashima announced Nov. 19 he has approved a new plan to construct a flood-control dam on the Kawabegawa river, a tributary of the Kumagawa river which runs through southern parts of the southern prefecture. This is nothing less than an about-face on his opposition to the decades-old project plan.

In 2008, Kabashima blocked the central government’s plan to build a dam on the river, which was first announced in the 1960s, and demanded it be scrapped.

The prefectural government has been working to map out a flood control strategy that does not rely on a dam in line with its policy of putting priority on protecting the natural environment of the Kumagawa, known as one of the clearest rivers in Japan.

But the local government failed to develop an effective water-control strategy, as tragically attested by the massive flooding of the Kumagawa river due to torrential rains in July, which killed more than five dozen people. The disaster forced the governor to rethink the prefecture’s approach to flood control.

Kabashima has held 30 meetings with local residents living in areas along the river to hear their views and opinions.

“Public opinion (about the issue) has changed........

© The Asahi Shimbun

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