First Kibagata Forum


Last sunday the first Kibagata Forum was held. Aim of this meeting is the protection of the Kibagata and its surroundings during the construction of the Hokuriku-Shinkansen from Matto direction Fukui. As already mentioned in this blog, the currently planned Shinkansen line will pass right through one of the last nature reserves along cost line. See my previous blog entry Save Lake Kiba for details about the line.

During the meeting the main organizer, KIDA Tomoji (木田智滋) first presented the facts around the planned Shinkansen line, including history of the Kibagata park and the Hokuriku Shinkansen. What is probably most disturbing is the fact that the current line was planned and evaluated more then 30 years ago, and now it is planned to be built. I cannot imagine any other civilized country doing these kind of things.

kibaforum2And more, the Shinkansen Company already proceeded with measurement, ecological assessment, of course all carried out by Shinkansen-friendly companies. But the general public has not be informed. General announcements about the new Shinkansen, how useful, how fast, but no
word about the actual line, no word about the consequences, no clear information of the directly affected population. This is called on purpose hiding of information and alone would disqualify in many countries the construction of the train line.

Following was a lively discussion on what are feasible options and what direction we should proceed. Several people considered a change of line as difficult to impossible, but I am still very much in favor of pressing for a change of line.

kibagata-pamphlet2Actually, I see two options to spare the Kibagata from being destroyed:

  • Move the line to the coast, parallel to the current Hokuriku line
  • Forget the new line, simply upgrade the current Hokuriku line.
    The time win from Kanazawa to Maibara is expected to be about 20min with the new Shinkansen line. Does this really justify a huge abount of money to be spent? Using a small percentage of that to upgrade the current line could work out to similar time savings.

Here some mock-up images how the surroundings will look like:

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While that looks bad, reality is much worse. The Shinkansen line’s electricity poles are not shown. They are in regular intervals peeking up considerable. As an example see the following photo from Tohoku Shinkansen, taken after the big earth quake in 2011. Although damaged the electricity poles are clearly visible, and their effect on the landscape, too. Image source: Voices from Japan.Tohoku_Shinkansen_Damaged_by_2011_Sendai_Earthquake

In case the change/termination of line could not be achieved, several ideas to improve the impression and design were proposed, some of which were:

  • improved design of the train tube – not the plain concrete funnel that can be seen everywhere, but adding some windows and design elements.
  • planting of trees around the supporting pillars
  • calling for an international design contest for the tube
  • buying up the land around the Shinkansen main track and planting trees so that the train is not visible

The two hours passed very quickly, and the next meeting has already been fixed. Interested participants are invited to contact me for details.

Please, everyone that has the slightest interest in preserving nature in Ishikawa and Japan, please step forward, give us a hand, come to the next Forum, spread the word. We need to stop this!

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