26 Février 2017
February 22, 2017
By HIRONORI KATO/ Staff Writer
Workers reinforce a concrete embankment along the Okinotagawa river in Kesennuma, Miyagi Prefecture. (Video footage by Yosuke Fukudome)
KESENNUMA, Miyagi Prefecture--Environmental eyesore or necessary protection against possible natural disasters?
The 800-meter-long, nine-meter tall embankment that runs along both sides of the Okinotagawa river here attracts both praise and criticism.
The embankment, the same height as levees built along the coast, is close to completion and workers are now laying rocks on the river bed to strengthen the structure.
The Okinotagawa river itself has been temporarily diverted to allow for the construction of the embankment, and when the waterway is returned to its usual course it is expected to have a width of about three meters.
Before the embankment project, salmon returned upstream along the river and tadpoles were also seen there.
"It has become a horrible site that has no consideration for the environment or surrounding scenery," complained one 56-year-old man who used to fish in the river.
However, other local residents said safety was the top priority and argued that the delightful natural environment could be enjoyed further upstream.