The Government of Japan plans to establish its own system of safe navigation in the Arctic Ocean in order to use this route for cargo transportation in the future. The Yomiuri newspaper reported this on Monday.
According to this newspaper, the project will build a new icebreaker, which will install special radars to monitor the water surface and measure the thickness of the ice. Based on these data, as well as information from satellites, the most optimal and safe route for merchant ships with minimal fuel costs will be developed.
Japan now has the research vessel Mirai, which could be suitable for such purposes. However, its capabilities are not sufficient to travel in the Arctic Ocean in any season. Therefore, it was decided to build a new icebreaker by the end of 2020. About 650 million yen ($6 million) has been allocated from the state budget for the creation of the monitoring system itself this year.
Japan has recently paid great attention to the development of cooperation with the Russian Federation in the development of the Northern Sea Route, including the transportation of liquefied natural gas (LNG). On June 29, following the results of the Russian-Japanese negotiations at the highest level in the city of Osaka, it was announced that Novatek would sell a consortium of Japanese Mitsui & Co and Jogmec 10% stake in the liquefaction plant Arctic LNG-2 construction project, and they would become the fourth shareholder of the project.