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Yanba Dam

How many years ago I visited here last time? 20 years? Yeah maybe. Along by the train route, the road runs from Shibukawa to Manza Kazawa-guchi, Gunma prefecture, Japan. It's also sub-route to highland resort Karuizawa. No, it mustn't be just sub-route coz the route itself has a lot of tourist spots around. Especially a famous spa like Kusatsu, Shima or Manza.
As driving my car, I notice. 'The road is fully renovated and more panoramic than before. It was used to run bottom of the valley as low as I could see the rocky stream' Huge suspension bridges in modern design cross over the valleys. More over I've came across under constructed site on the way. Looks like the road will get more renovation.

'Oh, I remember the construction site for Yanba dam, which was often mentioned on TV news, might be around here, I guess. Where is it?' Before long another high suspension bridge across the valley is coming into my sight. There is a road station beside the bridge. 'Well, I'm gonna ask them' I pull the car in the parking lot. Then I see the info-board next to me. "Yanba dam Construction Site" it says. Oh, here it is.
I stand on the middle of the bridge. As I could estimate from the height of bridge girder, the bottom of valley is far below. I see the road where I ran just before. The new road is replaced for the old to the upper hillside. A new train station is also moved to upper level. Some day, the water will come up and the long bridge girder will be under the water. An old drive-in, beautiful autumn leaves or hot spring town will be sink in the water. I feel a little bit lonely on that.
Yanba dam project had been argued for long time between the government and opponents. Finally the government made a decision for going on. Anyway the construction looks proceeding.

A year has passed since then. I looked up about the dam later. The scheduled completion date would be in 2015, this year, but the construction prolonged to 2020. Takes five more years.
However when I actually visit the site, I got a question "It's really worth to spend billion budgets on it?" Of course the construction itself destructs the nature of Agastuma valley. But more than that it looks involving political deal like between Tokyo and local governors, residents or constructors who can get a profit from the project.
It's a same for Japan's nuke plants or newly constructing US air base in Okinawa. It has no reason the facilities must be constructed right there. The conclusion is already decided by Tokyo. Never change by the protest. No democracy. "If you agree to construction, we, the government, give you a special present. Oh! you don't? So you will be as you are forever. Let's say, we'll reduce annual assistance for your local economy,uh?" Japan's politics are such a immature and bureaucratic.
I have not experienced water shortage in summer for long time. The rate of Japan's solar panel generated electricity in this summer was 6% of the total generation. Equal to 12 nuke plants on peak. Meanwhile, mega water power plants made only 7.5%. The construction will prolonged again and again. And finally when it's made, the government will notice that it's no use. That's the worst scenario I expect.

When I heard the word "Dam construction", I recall a Chinese movie "Still Life" (2006 Directed by Jia Zhang-ke) The story is based on the Fengjie town in Chongquing City China, where was sinking under the water by the Three Gorges Dam project. The dam construction and resident's removal were real time story. The arguments between local government and residents in compensation, expected water level and limit date for eviction painted on the houses, party by local politicians ... the pictures between the national projects and local government or people has some resemblance over the globe.
Chinese media followed the issue to the very end of the construction, I remember. The number of people who force to remove was huge. The Three Gorges was a historical scenic area where was even described in Three Kingdom or Chinese poetry. So it became big issue from the aspects of destructing nature.
Eventually the town sank under the lake. It's 10years ago. So how the scenery of the Three gorges area change? Oh, I've made another place must to visit.

Oct. 2015

Today's piece
" Yanba Dam construction site" Gunmma, Japan 2014

fumikatz osada photographie