Tuesday, March 3, 2009
Today's New York Times features two not-unrelated articles. The first is an Op-Ed by a Japanese policy analyst about Japan's crisis of the mind and how the centralized, top-down model of governing the country is no longer working.
The other is about a grassroots uprising in opposition to a proposed dam on the Kawabe River near Tokyo. A coalition of environmental activists, commercial fisherman and local farmers organized to oppose the dam. More than half the city's 34,000 residents signed a petition opposing the project and in an even rarer victory, the governor of the prefecture successfully lobbied central government to suspend the project.
This is very big news in a country when building massive public works projects is a central tenet of government and major dam construction on Japan's beautiful and biologically unique rivers has been an unquestioned piece of the progress. Apparently citizens are starting to question it. And that is a good thing.
Posted by Helen S. at 10:44 AM