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High court rules dam construction plan illegal

The Osaka High Court on December 8 ordered the Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries Ministry to cancel its plan to construct a dam in Shiga Prefecture because it has serious defects. The dam project has been opposed by residents.

The presiding judge pointed out that the dam design involves errors, and that the construction plan was approved without a boring survey and an assessment of economic effects. He also said that apparently no technical inspections or reports by experts were conducted.

The head of the lawyers group for the plaintiffs in the Eigenji No. 2 Dam Lawsuit said, "We appreciate the court ruling as fully supporting our claim. The victory is the fruit of the residents' movement of 14 years."

In a district court in October 2002, the plaintiffs lost the case because the court ruled that administration has the authority to make decisions despite a small economic effect. The residents appealed to the high court.

Hikide Zen'ichi, a plaintiff of 81, said at the news conference, "I'm very glad that the clear water of Echi River will be protected. Members of the club of the elderly mow the grass along the banks."
- Akahata, December 9, 2005

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