Forced to Run Straight, a River Must Now Twist
Published: November 7, 2007

Ko Sasaki for The New York Times. The Kushiro River on Hokkaido.

KUSHIRO, Japan — In the early 1980s, engineers straightened out stretches of the Kushiro River, which had meandered some 100 miles under Hokkaido’s big sky here in northern Japan, flowing through green hill country and rural towns, winding through the nation’s largest wetland and this port city’s downtown before emptying into the Pacific Ocean.

Like most rivers in Japan, the Kushiro River on Hokkaido, once considered a flooding threat to farmland, was straightened out years ago. Now the government, citing environmental concerns, plans to restore some curves to the stretch at left.

Article continues at http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/07/world/asia/07japan.html