Hokkaido salmon catch seen dropping due to colder waters: research institute

The Japan Times

OSAKA – A Hokkaido research institute predicts about a 4 percent drop in the catch of salmon in prefectural waters this autumn due to colder waters that make it harder for fry to survive. Still, the total estimated catch represents less than half of the over 60 million salmon in Hokkaido waters recorded in 2004. While the catch of fall salmon has fluctuated in the past three decades, the overall trend for the previous 12 years has been one of decline. The Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Research Institute, part of the Hokkaido Research Organization, predicts that about 24.8 million salmon will be caught in Hokkaido waters during the autumn run, a 3.8 percent drop from 2016. By area, the number of autumn salmon taken in the Tokachi and Kushiro areas will likely decline 29 percent from last year, while a 2.9 percent reduction is seen for the Sea of Okhotsk region, according to estimates.


Hokkaido launch of privately developed rocket fails

The Japan Times

KUSHIRO, HOKKADIO – The launch failed Saturday of what would have been the first Japanese rocket entirely developed by private industry to reach outer space, the Hokkaido-based developer said. Officials of Interstellar Technologies Inc., founded by former Livedoor Co. President Takafumi Horie, said the rocket, MOMO-2, fell shortly after liftoff from a test site in the Hokkaido town of Taiki .


JR Hokkaido losses top 40 billion for first time in 20 years, dragged down by new bullet train line

The Japan Times

SAPPORO – Hokkaido Railway Co. said Monday that it posted an operating loss of 44.7 billion for fiscal 2015, exceeding 40 billion for the first time in 20 years. The red ink for the year that ended in March was far larger than a loss of 38.9 billion for the previous year. Operating revenue rose 1.6 percent to 83.8 billion. The growth was led by short-distance lines, including the one linking New Chitose Airport and Sapporo, thanks to an increase in the number of foreign visitors. The operating loss expanded due to increases in costs related to the Hokkaido Shinkansen Line, which opened in late March, as well as heavy repair and depreciation costs.


M5.2 earthquake rocks southern Hokkaido but no tsunami warning issued

The Japan Times

SAPPORO – An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 5.2 jolted Hokkaido on Friday morning, just a month after a powerful quake rocked Japan's northernmost main island, the Meteorological Agency said. No tsunami warning was issued after the quake. Hokkaido Electric Power Co. said it found no abnormality at its nuclear and coal-fired power plants in the prefecture. A firefighting union in the Iburi district in Hokkaido said no injuries were reported as of 9:30 a.m. Friday in the towns of Atsuma and Mukawa, where the quake registered lower 5.


No rolling blackouts planned for earthquake-hit Hokkaido at least until Wednesday

The Japan Times

Hokkaido Electric Power Co. has no plans for rolling blackouts in its service area on Tuesday and Wednesday despite continued electricity shortages, government officials said Monday. The company's electricity supply capability is currently some 10 percent smaller than normal following a powerful earthquake that struck Hokkaido on Thursday.