Japan's Landscape and Public Works Projects & World Water Resources Conference

Dates:   1997 September 13 (Saturday)

                            Japan's Land and Public Works Projects

         1997 September 14 (Sunday)

                           World Water Resources Conference


         Waju-no-sato Hall, Nagashima-cho, Kuwana-gun, Mie Prefecture


         DAMPWR (Dietmembers' Association for a Mechanism for Public

                        Works Review)

         NGO Association for Public Works Review (NAPWR)

         Nagara River Inspection Committee


         National Wildlife Federation

Support by

         World Wide Fund for Nature Japan (WWF Japan)

         Nature Conservation Society of Japan (NACS-J)

         Wild Bird Society of Japan

         Shukan Kinyobi Magazine

         Iwanami Sekai Magazine


Japan's Landscape and  Public Works Projects

Saturday, September 13

The public works project policy of Japan is now at the turning point.  The Nag

ara River Estuary Dam Project by the Ministry of Construction and the Isahaya

Bay Reclamation Project by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries

 have been the subject of wide criticism by media and citizens.

This criticism reflects a change in people's attitude and values in Japan.  Pe

ople--who now seek balancing development and environmental protection--now cho

ose preservation over degradation of nature caused by public works projects wh

ich have constantly destroyed the nation's forests, rivers, and the ocean unde

r the guise of "economic development and improved life standard."

Business has also started raising its voice, seeking public works policy refor

m, as the return from the public works investment has diminished and as the na

tional economy has declined to the point where it can no longer support expens

ive public works.

However, the "development bureaucracy" continues to control the public works p

rojects and plans, once developed, are never reviewed, and become goals in and

 of themselves.  This is all because the public works projects are the "hotbed

" of the concession profits for the bureaucrats, Dietmembers with special inte

rests, and construction industries.

We seek to review the public works projects that have been constructed in the

forests, rivers, and seas of Japan, explore the desirable picture of 21st Cent

ury Japan, and design mechanisms that brings public works back to the hands of



General Moderator: Yasuko Takemura, Director, Dietmember's Association for a

                                  Mechanisms for  Public Works Review [DAMPWR];

                                  Member of the House of Councillors

First Session

        "Reviewing Unneeded and Environmentally Destructive Public Works"

Keynote Speeches from Forests, Rivers, and Oceans:

-From Ocean

  Hirofumi Yamashita,   Director, Japan Wetlands Action Network [JAWAN]

           "The Isahaya Bay Reclamation Project and the Ministry of Agriculture,

           Forestry, and Fisheries"

-From Rivers

  Megumi Fujita, Kito Village Mayor

           "The Hosogouchi Dam and the Ministry of Construction"

  Soichi Murase, a plaintiff, The Nagara River Estuary Dam Construction

                                                    Injunction Trial

           "The Nagara River Estuary Dam and the Ministry of Construction"

 Yugo Ono,  Professor, Environmental Earth Science, Hokkaido University

        "The Chitose River Diversion Channel and the Hokkaido Development Agency"

-From Forests

  Makoto  Fujiwara, Professor, Agriculture Department, Utsunomiya University

           "Large Scale Forest Roads and the Forestry Agency"

-From Lakes

  Takehiko Hobo,   Professor, Shimane University

           "Nakaumi Reclamation Project and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry

       and Fisheries"

Second Session

  Panel Discussion:

  Moderator:  Takehiko Hobo,   Professor, Shimane University


 Atsushi Miyawaki, Professor, Law Department, Hokkaido University

  Takayoshi Igarasahi, Professor, Law Department, Hosei University

  Hideyuki Suzuki, Director, Political Affairs Department, Jichiro-Rengo

  Atsushi Okamoto, Chief Editor, Iwanami Sekai Magazine

  Reiko Amano, Representative, NGO Association


World Water Resources Conference

Sunday, September 14

Last June, the Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly

elected protection of freshwater supplies as a central subject for the

1988 session of the Commission on Sustainable Development.

A report by the United Nations pointed out that eight percent of the

global population is suffering from extreme water shortage today and if

trends such as population growth continues at their current rate, two

thirds of the population will come to suffer from some level of water

shortage within the next thirty years.  The Worldwatch Institute warns

that ,although nations have traditionally gone into wars over gold and

oil, water is the factor that has the highest potential to trigger wars in

today's world.  Finding solutions to the water problems is the top

priority issue of the global scale.

The dam construction community in Japan claims that the construction of

dams is imperative for the water problems to be solved and further argues

that hydro power is "clean energy" which does not  contribute to the

global warming.  Their intention is to justify continuous dam construction

domestically --which has become a symbol of widely criticized public works

projects -- as well as to promote "exports"of dams to the developing

countries through the official development assistance (ODA) and other

means.  Following the world class Three Gorges Dam project in China, Japan

is trying to take a leading role in plans for large-scale dam projects

that span several countries are being laid out in the Indochina peninsula;

the region recovering from the turmoil caused by various warfare such as

the Vietnam War and civil wars in Cambodia.

On the other hand, Ismail Serageldin, the Vice President of the World

Bank, the institution that has led dam construction in  the world over the

last fifty years, said that the World Bank is not likely to be active in

funding dam construction in the next half century.  In most countries, the

cause of water problems will not be water shortages, but inefficient and

non-sustainable water use.  Worldwatch Institute, in State of the World

1996, states, Because agriculture  accounts for two-thirds of total

water use worldwide, even small percentage reductions can free up

substantial quantities of water for cities, the environment, or other


What is the real solution to the water issue?  We invite the experts from

the World Bank, Worldwatch, and other organizations, to grasp the core of

the water problems, explore the solutions, and reflect the findings to the

public works and foreign aid policies of Japan.


General Moderator:

  Richard Forrest, Eastern Asia Representative, National Wildlife Federation

Opening Remarks

  Hiroya Kawanabe, President, Ecological Society of Japan

                                 Director General, Lake Biwa Museum

First Session  "Water Resource Issues of the World"

  Keynote Speeches

 Robert Goodland, Special Environmental Advisor, World Bank

    "World Bank and the Big Dams Debate:  what is environmental sustainability

   applied to water projects; recent lessons learned"

 Janet Abramovitz, Senior Researcher, Worldwatch Institute

          on global water resources issues

Second Session  "Japanese Foreign Aid and Dam Construction"


  Patrick McCully,  U.S., Campaigns Director, International Rivers Network [IRN];

             the author of  Silenced Rivers

                on foreign aid to developed countries and dam construction

  Witoon Permpongsacharoen, Thailand, Director, Towards Ecological Recovery

                                                   and Regional Alliance [TERRA]

                on development of the Mekong river region

  Hiroshi Kanda, Japan, Researcher, Institute for Alternative Community

                    Development [IACOD]

                on domestic development and ODA

Third Session:

       "Towards Sound Decisionmaking on Water Resources in the 21st century"

 Panel Discussion


 Tadatoshi Akiba, Executive Director, Dietmember's Association for a

                  Mechanisms for Public Works Review [DAMPWR];

                  Member of the House of Representative

 Robert Goodland

  Janet Abramovitz

  Patrick McCully

  Witoon Permpongsacharoen

  Hiroshi Kanda

Closing Remarks

  C.W. Nicol,  Naturalist and Author


Related Events

A separate organization, the Society Against the Nagara River Estuary Dam Cons

truction, will host an out-door conference rally.

Sunday, September 14 ,

 6:00 PM -

"Kako-zeki Un'you Hayaku TomeNIGHT"

-- "To Stop the operation of the Nagara Estuary Dam"

Music, Talk Show, etc.

Monday, September 15,

9:00 AM - Noon

 "Out Door Action DAY"

 Rally and Canoe Demonstration

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