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Plebiscite sought on Kumamoto dam

RESIDENTS OF HITOYOSHI, Kumamoto Prefecture in Japan have submitted a request to hold a plebiscite on the proposed construction of a major dam on a river upstream from the city. The group has collected more than 16,000 signatures to make the request to the municipal election committee of Hitoyoshi, which has some 30,000 eligible voters.

In July 1996, the government unveiled plans to build a dam on the Kawabe river, which flows into the Kuma river. Hitoyoshi is located on the Kuma river and residents fear the dam would destroy the local whitewater rafting industry.

The planned dam, which the government says is intended for irrigation, would be one of the largest in Kyushu, creating a reservoir with a capacity of 133M m3.