さて、一昨日、ちょびさんがInternational Rivers Networkから電話をかけてく
"Reforming a part of the River Law (skeleton draft)"
by the Construction Ministry provided in February 1997
and criticisms by citizens
1. Add "River Environment Management (maintenance) and Preservation" as
a purpose of the River Law and introduce River Maintenance Planning refl
ecting upon local opinions.
(1)To respond to the public=92s demand for diversified natural environme
nt and water front area around the rivers, in addition to "flood control
" and "water use" as purposes of the river management, introduce "mainte
nance and preservation of river environment (such as water quality, sce
nery and ecosystem, etc)".*
(2)New Planning System
-River Maintenance Policy (long term policy)
The Construction Ministry makes decisions based on the deliberation cond
ucted by The River Committee regarding basic items as estimated run-off.
-River Maintenance Planning (individual maintenance plan)
The Construction Ministry decides on individual maintenance plans of dam
s and dikes reflecting opinions of mayors and governors of local adminis
trative districts and local residents.**
*Criticism on 1 (1)
What the Construction Ministry seeks for from this item is so-called "Mu
lti-Nature Construction Method", or Tashizen Koho in Japanese. It refers,
instead of covering banks and river beds by artificial material such as
concrete, to create natural looking environment by "covering" with "natu
ral looking material" such as trees, wood, grass and rocks, etc.
But without the knowledge and consideration of holistic ecosystem, --for
example introduced plant could damage the original nature --and without
precise indication of them in the law it ends up giving excuses for more
construction works and "fake environment" which is no better than
In other words Tashizen Koho is to secure construction work under the ci
rcumstances where appropriate locations for dams become scarce, protests
become bigger and it is getting difficult for the Construction Ministry
plans new dam projects. Funny fact: As we Japanese environmentalist
criticize against "Tashizen Koho", the government has just started used
another word for it, such as "The New Construction Method"!!!
**Criticism on (2)
The period of "individual maintenance plan" means "20~30 years" accordin
g to the Construction Ministry. Automatically, "long term policy" should
me an at least 50~100 year-planning. Then it is impossible for the publi
c to realize realistic and responsible participation in longer planning
life time. Also if the basic long term plan is set by the Ministry witho
ut alternative proposals by the citizens at the early stage, it would be
almost impossible for the public to take part in the decision-making pro
2. Procedure for smooth adjustment for water use in case of extraordinar
To promote water use adjustment, water users are to consult to each othe
rs*** and the Construction Ministry is to make effort to provide informa
tion and simplify the necessary permission procedure for water use adjus
Back ground information***
***"Each other" should mean Agricultura Forestry and Fishery Ministry,
Health and Welfare Ministry, Resource Development Public Corporation (te
ntative translation for Mizushigenkaihatsu Kodan) and etc.. The Construc
tion Ministry, however, failed to clarify them in detail as they are sai
d to have lost in the argument during consultation (not open to the publ
ic) with other ministries and compromised much. It can be said that situ
ation for efficient water use adjustment will not be more efficient than
it is now.
3. Maintenance of belts of trees along dikes and around dams
To maintain and promote function of dikes and water reservoirs, maintain
or preserve the belts of trees along dikes and around dams as river cont
Criticism on 3****
This should be done by the Environmental Agency not the Construction Min
istry. And the wording =91facilities" is not appropriate. This item is c
onsidered as an effort to expand their authority and to have another big
piece of pie.
In the event of water pollution accident, such as oil spill, polluters a
re to clean up and pay the cost of cleaning.
Construction Ministry can sell or dispose illegal mooring boats and ship
s with prompt procedure.
Paragraphs that start with * marks are opinions discussed or researched
by Water Resource Development Issue National Network, or Suigen Kaihatsu
Mondai Zenkoku Renrakukai, and River Law Reforming Citizens Conference,
both based in Tokyo, Japan (contact person by e-mail: Atsuko Masano VYC0