Japan building huge seawalls to fend off tsunamis
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Japan has long suffered the effects of devastating tsunamis. In March 2011 a major tsunami hit the north-eastern coastline of Japan resulting in approximately 18,500 people to lose their lives or go missing. Just a few months after the disaster, the governing Japanese Liberal Democratic Party announced that it would be constructing a nearly 400 kilometre long chain of cement seawalls in an effort to fend off future tsunamis. In some areas, the seawalls would reach 5 stories in height.

The Liberal Democratic Party, who has backers in big business in construction, has estimated that the project would cost around 820 billion yen ($6.8 billion) and will provide a great deal of job opportunities.

Opposition to the major project comes from locals who believe the concrete resemble that of a prison wall and are an eyesore on the coastline. There are also concerns that the walls will damage the marine ecology and become a hindrance to local fisheries. There is also a theory that seawalls are actually a paradox as they can bring on a level of complacency in residents. It is believed that some residents will choose to stay in their homes and ‘ride-out’ tsunamis rather than evacuate as a precautionary measure. Opponents to the seawall still believe that relocating residents to higher ground is the best way to prevent loss of life from tsunamis.

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