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Toward Safer Roads for Foreign Rental Car Drivers

The number of foreigners renting cars in Japan has surged in recent years. With the number of accidents involving foreign drivers increasing in popular tourist destinations, the Japanese government has set its sights on trying to curb car accidents.
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Name Boards of Two Unmanned Stations in Hokkaidō Stolen (News)

Sapporo, Sept. 14 (Jiji Press)—The name boards of two unmanned stations in Hokkaidō, northernmost Japan, that are popular among railway enthusiasts as secluded stations, have been stolen. The host town of Horonobe in northern Hokkaidō has used the two stations—Onoppunai and Toikanbetsu on the Sōya Line of Hokkaidō Railway Co., or JR Hokkaidō—for regional revitalization. "It's a shame since t…
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A Summer Rainbow Descends on Hokkaidō (Japan in Photos)

Fields of lavender, peppermint, baby’s breath, and other flowers come into full bloom beneath the summer skies of Nakafurano, Hokkaidō, in this photo from July 15, 2017. The annual spectacle at the Farm Tomita spreads over nine hectares and draws thousands of visitors to the town. Peak viewing runs through July and lasts until the lavender is harvested in August. (© Jiji)
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How Can Hokkaidō’s Troubled Rail System Survive?Kishi Kunihiro

The railway system of Hokkaidō is now in a critical state. The island prefecture’s population is shrinking, while car ownership has risen, causing train ridership to decline. Half of the existing rail network may be unsustainable. How should this problem be addressed?
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Japan’s Largest Complete Dinosaur Fossil Confirmed (News)

Mukawa, Hokkaidō, April 28 (Jiji Press)—Fossils found in 72-million-year-old sedimentary layers in Mukawa, a town in the northernmost prefecture of Hokkaidō, have been confirmed as the largest complete dinosaur skeleton discovered in Japan, researchers have said. The herbivorous dinosaur, a member of the Hadrosaurid family, is believed to have been 8 meters long and weighed 7 tons, Hokkaidō Uni…
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Timeline for March 2016

A court order forces Takahama Nuclear Power Station to halt operations, the Hokkaidō Shinkansen service starts, and the nation marks five years since the Great East Japan Earthquake. Here are the major news stories of March 2016.
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Hokkaidō Shinkansen Guide: Routes, Trains, Fares, and Sights

We provide an overview of the new Hokkaidō Shinkansen offering service between Shin-Aomori and Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto Stations, including the route and fares, as well as nearby points of interest.
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Why Does Japan Have Butter Shortages?Kikuchi Masanori

“Due to shortages, sales of butter are limited to one item per customer.” From spring until summer this year, signs like this were posted in the dairy sections of supermarkets and food stores around Japan. In fact, butter shortage notices have been a recurring sight for the past several years. This year it was particularly striking to see the number of stores that were completely out of butter a…
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Local Election Roundup: Strong Showing for Ruling Parties amid Weak Turnout

On Sunday, April 12, ballots were counted in the first wave of this year’s “unified local elections,” a nationwide set including 10 gubernatorial contests. (The second wave is scheduled for April 26.) Yesterday’s voting also selected mayors for five major cities, city assemblies for 17 cities, and prefectural assembly members for 41 of Japan’s 47 prefectures. Two gubernatorial elections, those …
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Snow Sculpture Contest: Carving Out International Goodwill at the Sapporo Snow Festival

The International Snow Sculpture Contest is held every year at the Sapporo Snow Festival. This truly cosmopolitan event, in which teams from all over the world compete to produce the best snow sculpture, has become one of the festival’s most popular attractions.
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