Contextual Factors Affecting the Modes of Interaction in Governance: The Case of Dam Removal in Japan

  • Tomohiko Ohno


This chapter discusses the first Japanese case of dam removal policy. The Arase Dam in Kumamoto Prefecture was built for hydropower generation as a symbol of economic development in 1955. After its construction, local residents came to realize the damage caused by the dam, such as flood damage and eutrophication of the reservoir. In parallel with the anti-dam construction movement, at another site in the same river basin, the local village and fishermen began to ask the prefectural government to remove the Arase Dam when the permit for hydropower generation expired in 2003. Until the governor of the prefecture decided to remove the dam, there had been a series of complex interactions among different levels of government, local residents, fishery cooperatives, and downstream farmers, with political dynamics from changes of top leaders in elections. This chapter focuses on the contextual factors in interactive governance and stresses the importance of resistance strategy, which has been discussed in case studies of local commons in Japan, rather than collaborative governance discussed in many water governance studies.


Dam removal Arase Dam Interactive governance Collaborative governance Resistance strategy Power imbalance Contextual factor River policy Japan 



Some fieldworks for this study were jointly conducted with the support of Gaku Mitsumata, Daisaku Shimada, and Kazuki Kagohashi. This study is partly supported by JSPS KAKENHI Grant Number JP 16K16236.


  1. Abe, R. 2007. Ikanishite Jinkobutu ha seiji to naruka: Arase damu haiki no seijikatei [How Artifacts Become Politicalization?: Political Process of the Arase Dam Removal]. Shakaigaku kenkyuka kiyo [Annals of Graduate School of Sociology] 7: 39–55 [in Japanese].Google Scholar
  2. Ansell, C., and A. Gash. 2007. Collaborative Governance in Theory and Practice. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory 18: 543–571.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Beach, Derek, and Rasmus Brun Pedersen. 2013. Process-Tracing Methods: Foundations and Guidelines. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Crozier, Michel J., Samuel P. Huntington, and Joji Watanuki. 1975. The Crisis of Democracy. New York: New York University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Edelenbos, J. 2005. Institutional Implications of Interactive Governance: Insights from Dutch Practice. Governance 18: 111–134.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Edelenbos, J., and I. Van Meerkerk. 2016. Vitality in Interactive Governance: Conditions and Challenges. In The Challenges of Collaboration in Environmental Governance: Barriers and Responses, ed. R.D. Margerum and C.J. Robinson. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing.Google Scholar
  7. Edelenbos, J., N.V. Schie, and L. Gerrits. 2010. Organizing Interfaces Between Government Institutions and Interactive Governance. Policy Sciences 43: 73–94.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Fisher, F. 2012. Participatory Governance: From Theory to Practice. In The Oxford Handbook of Governance, ed. D. Levi-Faur. New York: Oxford university Press.Google Scholar
  9. Hanaoka, I. 1934. Kumagawa annai [Kuma River Guide]. Kumamoto: Nagasakijiro shoten shiten. [in Japanese].Google Scholar
  10. Hori, M. 2011. Koteki gabanansuron no totatsuten: Gabanansu kenkyu no kaiko to tenbo wo megutte [Achievement of the Public Governance Studies: Retrospective View and Vision of Governance Studies]. In Koteki gabanansuno dotaikenkyu: Seifu no sadoyoshiki no henyo, ed. Niikawa. [Studies on Dynamics of Public Governance: Transformation of modes of government activities] Kyoto: Minerva shobo. [in Japanese].Google Scholar
  11. Inoue, M. 2004. Komonzu no shiso wo motomete [A Quest for the Thought on Commons]. Tokyo: Iwanami shoten. [in Japanese].Google Scholar
  12. Jacobs, A.J. 2003. Devolving Authority and Expanding Autonomy in Japanese Prefectures and Municipalities. Governance 16 (4): 601–623.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Jentoft, S., and M. Bavinck. 2014. Interactive Governance for Sustainable Fisheries: Dealing with Legal Pluralism. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability 11: 71–77.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Kooiman, J., ed. 1993. Modern Governance: New Government-Society Interactions. London: SAGE Publications.Google Scholar
  15. ———. 2003. Governing as Governance. London: SAGE Publications.Google Scholar
  16. Kooiman, J., M. Bavinck, S. Jentoft, and R. Pullin, eds. 2005. Fish for Life: Interactive Governance for Fisheries. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.Google Scholar
  17. Koontz, Tomas M. 2004. Collaborative Environmental Management: What Roles for Government? Washington, DC: Resources for the Future.Google Scholar
  18. Kosaki, K. (ed.) 1960. Kumagawa gaido [Kuma River Guide]. Kumamoto: Kumamoto nichinichi shinbun. [in Japanese].Google Scholar
  19. Kumagawa ryuiki jyumin kikitorichosa hokokushu henshuiinkai. 2008. Damuha suigaiwo hikiokosu: Kumagawa kawabegawano suigai higaishaha kataru [Dam Causes the Flood Damages: Voices of Victims of the Flood at Kuma River and Kawabe River]. Tokyo: Kadensha. [in Japanese].Google Scholar
  20. Kumamoto nichinichi shimbun shuzaihan. 2010. Datsudamuno yukue: Kawabegawa damuwo tou [Fate of a No-Dam Policy: Questioning the Kawabegawa Dam]. Tokyo: Kadokawa gakugei shuppan. [in Japanese].Google Scholar
  21. Lijphart, A. 1999. Patterns of Democracy: Government Forms and Performance in Thirty-Six Countries. New Haven: Yale university press.Google Scholar
  22. Lowry, William R. 2003. Dam Politics: Restoring America’s Rivers. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press.Google Scholar
  23. ———. 2005. Policy Reversal and Changing Politics: State Governments and Dam Removals. State Politics & Policy Quarterly 5 (4): 394–419. Scholar
  24. ———. 2009. Policy Changes on Canada’s Rivers: Different but Not Isolated. Review of Policy Research 26 (6): 783–800. Scholar
  25. Mertha, A.C., and W.R. Lowry. 2006. Unbuilt Dams: Seminal Events and Policy Change in China, Australia, and the United States. Comparative Politics 39: 1–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Mitsumata, G. 2013. Complementary Environmental Resource Policies in the Public, Commons and Private Spheres: An Analysis of External Impacts on the Commons. In Local Commons and Democratic Environmental Governance, ed. T. Murota and K. Takeshita. Tokyo: United Nations University Press.Google Scholar
  27. Mitsumata, G., and H. Saitoh. 2010. Kankyoshigenkanrino kyochisenryaku to teikosenryaku ni kansuru ichishiron: Gyosei no kochokutekitaioukaniaru Toyota shi Inabu jyusan zaisanku no jirei kara [A Consideration on the Collaborative Governance Strategy and Resistant Governance Strategy for Natural Resource Management: On the Basis of a Case Study of Inabu Property Ward Forests in Toyota, Aichi, Japan]. Shodai ronshu [Journal of University of Hyogo] 61: 151–178. [in Japanese].Google Scholar
  28. Miwa, D., and G. Mitsumata. 2010. Komonzu wo mamori ikasu senryaku nikansuru ichikosatsu: Kinnenno hogakuteki komonzukenkyu no ryukou ni yosete [A Consideration on the Strategy for the Resistance and Utilization of the Commons]. Shodai ronshu [Journal of University of Hyogo] 61: 1–32. [in Japanese].Google Scholar
  29. Miyoshi, N. 2007. Ryuikikanri no hoseisaku: Kenzen na mizujyunkan to sogoteki ryuikikanri no jitsugen ni mukete [Law and Policy for the Watershed Management: Toward the Realization of Sound Water Cycle and Integrated Watershed Management]. Tokyo: Jigakusha shuppan. [in Japanese].Google Scholar
  30. Obitani, H. 2003. Damukensetsu wo meguru kankyoundo to chiikisaisei: Tairitsu to kyodo no dainamizumu [Environmental Movement and Regional Revitalization Over the Dam Built: Dynamism of Conflict and Collaboration]. Kyoto: Showado. [in Japanese].Google Scholar
  31. Ohno, T. 2013. Institutional Design of Watershed Committees in Japan. In Local Commons and Democratic Environmental Governance, ed. T. Murota and K. Takeshita. Tokyo: United Nations University Press.Google Scholar
  32. Reed, S. 1986. Japanese Prefectures and Policymaking. Pittsburgh: The University of Pittsburgh Press.Google Scholar
  33. Rittel, H.W.J., and M.M. Webber. 1973. Dilemmas in a General Theory of Planning. Policy Sciences 4: 155–169.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Sabatier, P. 1988. An Advocacy Coalition Framework of Policy Change and the Role of Policy-Oriented Learning Therein. Policy Sciences 21 (2–3): 129–168.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Sabatier, Paul A., Will Focht, Mark Lubell, Zev Trachtenberg, Arnold Vedlitz, and Marty Matlock, eds. 2005. Swimming Upstream: Collaborative Approaches to Watershed Management, American and Comparative Environmental Policy. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  36. Sakamoto Village History Editorial Committee. 1990. Sakamoto sonshi [Sakamoto Village History]. Kumamoto: Sakamoto sonshi hensan iinkai.Google Scholar
  37. Seki, Y., A. Masano, and K. Kajiwara 2015. Shakaiteki kyotsushihon toshiteno mizu [Water as a Social Common Capital]. Tokyo: Kadensha. [in Japanese].Google Scholar
  38. Takahashi, Y. 2009. Kawabegawa damuha iranai: Takara wo mamoru kokyojigyo he [We Do not Need the Kawabegawa Dam: For the Public Works to Protect a Tresure]. Tokyo: Iwanami shoten. [in Japanese].Google Scholar
  39. The British Dam Society. 2010. Types of Dams: Gravity Dam. Accsessed 2 Mar 2016.
  40. Torfing, Jacob, B. Guy Peters, Jon Pierre, and Eva Sørensen. 2012. Interactive Governance: Advancing the Paradigm. Oxford: Oxford University Press on Demand.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Tsuru, S. 2013. Nihon hatsuno dam tekkyo no genba karano houkoku: Arase dam kono 1nen(3) [Report from the Field of the first dam removal case in Japan: Annual report of Arase dam (3)]” Shiranuikai/Kumagawa Ryuuikiken Gakkaishi [Journal of Society for Shiranui Sea and Kuma River Watershed Studies] 7(1): 31–34. [in Japanese].Google Scholar
  42. Young, S.M., and H. Ishiga. 2014. Assessment of Dam Removal from Geochemical Examination of Kuma River Sediment, Kyushu, Japan. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment 186 (12): 8267–8289. Scholar

Copyright information

© Institute of Developing Economies, Japan External Trade Organization 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Law, Institute of Human and Social SciencesKanazawa UniversityKanazawaJapan

Personalised recommendations