Construction resumed at the site of the Yamba dam in Gunma Prefecture, five decades in the making.
Work on the dam was halted in 2009 when the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) came to power. It was halted as part of dozens of public works projects to be reconsidered.
Blasting work was conducted Thursday to prepare for laying the foundation of the dam's main structure, which will have a 116-meter-tall concrete wall. It is scheduled to be finished in fiscal 2019.
Yamba, which is expected to cost more than 450 billion yen to build, became a national symbol of the big-money projects favored by the old government led by the Liberal Democratic Party.
The dam, about 130 kilometers northwest of Tokyo, was designed to help control flooding after a typhoon ravaged the mountainous area. In the years since, it has grown to include power generation and water provision for four different prefectures plus Tokyo.
When the project first got under way 63 years ago, local residents waged a spirited campaign to save the area, but as the fight dragged on, most people gave up in resignation, accepting cash payouts for their land or resettlement deals.
Some owners of hot spring inns had been hoping to use replacement land provided by the government -- lakeside property near the new reservoir -- to kick-start the local economy.
Around Naganohara, the sights and sounds of construction are everywhere. Highway tunnels have been drilled into the surrounding hills, large bridges in various states of completion crisscross overhead and broad swaths of earth have been blanketed in concrete. New houses for those who will be displaced are being built, and family graveyards have been moved to higher ground.© Japan Today/AP