• Kyodo

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A citizens group calling for a 250-year-old floodgate on the Yoshino River in Tokushima Prefecture to be protected plans to visit a 2,200-year-old weir in China in early September to help with their preservation activities, group members said Saturday.

The group envisions a trip of about five days centering on a tour to the Dujiangyan Irrigation System on the Minjiang River in Sichuan Province, guided by a Sichuan University professor, they said. The system is on the World Heritage list of the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

Yoshinogawa Minna no Kai (The Yoshino River Association for All), a nonprofit organization recognized by the Tokushima Prefectural Government in May last year, will ask citizens and researchers to take part in the tour.

The project is designed to promote efforts to keep the conventional floodgate, called the No. 10 weir, in place for a further 1,000 years and follow the lead of the Dujiangyan system, which still irrigates fields and controls flooding, the members said.

The group comprises citizens opposed to a government plan to build a new weir on the river and advocates preserving the conventional rock weir, saying constructing a new floodgate would harm the environment.

In 1998, a Construction Ministry panel recommended replacing the weir, located 14 km from the mouth of the river, with a modern, sluice-door floodgate 1.2 km downstream.

But the central government dropped the 100 billion yen project after about 90 percent of Tokushima city residents who voted in a city referendum cast ballots against the project in January 2000.

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