NAGANOHARA, Gunma Pref. — Leading a new life without a dam is an idea that people in this small mountain town in Gunma Prefecture had never thought of before, and many appear unable to think of it even after land minister Seiji Maehara suggested it during his visit there last Wednesday.

The visit only highlighted the gaping division between the new government’s no-dam policy and residents waiting to get a fresh start alongside the almost 60-year-old Yamba Dam project.

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