Dam Project in Downpour-Hit Kumamoto Halted 11 Yrs Ago

Society Lifestyle

Kumamoto, July 12 (Jiji Press)--Since a project to build a dam in Kumamoto Prefecture to control the Kuma River and its side streams was halted 11 years ago, alternative flood-control measures had been discussed but were yet to be implemented when the river overflowed due to recent downpours and led to many lost lives and homes.

Due to opposition from local municipalities and the prefectural government, the central government decided to cancel the dam project in 2009.

After heavy floods devastated the southern part of the southwestern Japan prefecture, Kumamoto Governor Ikuo Kabashima said that the prefectural government will maintain its stance of opposing the construction of the dam, called the Kawabegawa dam. At the same time, he said the local government will consider its flood-control measures, including through discussing the ideal way of utilizing a dam.

As legal procedures to officially end the project has not been taken, observers say the latest disaster may reignite the debate over whether the dam should be built.

After Kumamoto Prefecture was hit by heavy floods from the Kuma River for three years in a row from 1963, the Construction Ministry, a predecessor of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, announced in 1966 the project to construct a dam along the Kawabe River, the largest arm of the Kuma River, as a flood control measure.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press