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REVITALIZING JAPAN--Building a disaster-resistant nation / Govts use river, forest management to mitigate floods
This is the first installment in the second half of the first part of a series of articles examining ways to restore Japan's vitality.
Waspik is a village in the southern Netherlands boasting a population of about 5,000. Here, Mark Broekmans runs a family dairy farm on a meadow alongside the Bergsche Maas, a tributary which flows from the Meuse River in France. The 35-year-old farmer, however, will soon relocate his house and cattle sheds from the riverside to elevated ground about two kilometers away.
When The Yomiuri Shimbun recently visited the village, an excavator was leveling out a 2-hectare plot at the relocation site.
Broekmans will move his farm before work starts nearby to lower a 6-meter dike built during the 1970s to 2.5 meters high. Scheduled for completion in 2015, the levee reconstruction represents a shift in the country's water management policy, in which a longstanding philosophy to confine any overflow with levees is abandoned.
It is envisioned the new, lowered levee will "guide" rising waters to a riverside meadow--a makeshift flood control reservoir--to lessen possible damage in downstream areas. Overflow to the meadow will be halted by a new levee to be built three kilometers away from the river.
Broekmans and seven other local dairy farmers are relocating at the government's expense. He said he regards the relocation as a new start as his house and cattle sheds will be protected by the move.
The work in Waspik forms part of a broader, …