The proposed great wall of Japan could be considered extremely vital for the survival of the most technologically advanced country in the world in the 21st century and its citizens. After the severe devastation of Japan’s coast line due to the massive tsunami in 2011, there have been various steps taken by the Japanese authorities to try to avert such a disaster in future. Efforts are being made to build close to 250 miles of sea walls made up of cement. The height of the walls would be close to five stories and it would cost more than $6 billion USD (820 billion Yen) for the construction.
Opposition to the plan began at the same time that it was proposed. The opponents have claimed that the enormous concrete barricades will prove catastrophic to the scenery, ecology, and the marine life. It will also obstruct the important fisheries business in the region and at the same time, provide limited protection to the inhabitants who would presumably move to a different location away from the wall. However, there are many people in the region who have voiced their support for the plan to build the proposed wall. They argue that construction of the sea walls would provide employment opportunities for the residents in the region. Also, the walls would provide protection against the tall tsunami waves and therefore were a necessary evil.
Residents of Osabe, the fishing port in northern Japan, are inflamed at the 41 feet high sea walls that are obstructing their view of the coast line. Many of them already have or are planning to move inland. The political party in power in Japan, the Liberal Democratic Party, has many supporters from construction companies and the big infrastructure industry. Using concrete for all its public works projects is the party’s prime plan of action and many government bureaucrats and officials approve such construction plans. The proposed 21st century Great Wall of Japan is essential for the survival of Japan and its citizens.
According to experts, the ambiguity about the actual amount of protection that such a large-scale construction project can provide, might cultivate complacency among the residents. The Great Wall of Japan project may cause a serious risk for people living in coastal areas of the country which are more-or-less defenseless against various natural disasters like storms, earthquakes, tsunamis, and extremely high waves. Close to 19,000 residents which have been reported missing or died in the 2011 tsunami did not react to the warnings and relocate to safer places.
A similar sea wall close to 24 feet tall was erected to restrict the corrosion of the beaches of the northern city of Iwanuma. Though the sea wall did slow down the force of water, the tsunami waves still swept the Japanese inland as far as three miles long. The workers at the airport along with travelers looked from the airport roof when the tsunami waves wrecked houses of the suburban areas when it carried off buildings, aircrafts, and cars. Considering the amount of destruction caused back then the proposed 21st century Great Wall of Japan is important for the survival of Japan and its citizens living in coastal areas.
By Ankur Sinha