Economy / Business

  • Lake Abashiri stretches through both the city of Abashiri and the town of Ozora in the Eastern Hokkaido Okhotsk region. The season has started here for wakasagi smelt ice trawl net fishing, a form of fishing not generally found in other parts of Japan.

  • As the scale of farmland in Tokachi increases and the shortage of labor continues, labor saving measures are the key to sustainability. The use of smart agriculture based on advanced technology is vital in cultivating profitable crops while maintaining an appropriate crop rotation system with limited manpower.

  • Housed in a renovated agricultural storehouse, the restaurant "le mantaro" opened on January 5 in the Koshin area in Kyogoku along National Route 276 under the management of proprietor Christopher Kim (36), the Korean-American president of architectural design company "Christopher's" (Tokyo). President Kim lives in the town of Kyogoku in Central Hokkaido's Shiribeshi region. The restaurant features a glass wall dining area with a panoramic view of Mount Yotei. Kim commented, "My hope is that many town residents will come here."

  • Hotel and restaurant proprietor Daiichi Kaikan (Kutchan) opened a bar called "Niseko Stand Mori Deai" in the Susukino area of Sapporo. The bar features a plentiful selection of items produced in the Shiribeshi district including food items such as cheese and ham in addition to beer, Japanese sake, gin, and fruit juice. The bar interior plays videos promoting tourism in the Shiribeshi area, advertising the allure of Shiribeshi to bar customers at a prime location within Sapporo.

  • The Niseko international resort area has entered into its second winter under the COVID-19 pandemic. While there is no hope for a resurgence of overseas tourists after the sudden drop, energetic real estate investment is continuing unabated. "H2 Group" is a real estate company in Kutchan that has engaged in development of the first condominium facilities for the Niseko area and launched into a business merger in November 2020 with a high-end accommodation facility managing company based in Hong Kong. We spoke to Simon Robinson (60), the president of "H2 Group", about the current situation in the region and his vision for a post-pandemic Niseko.

  • Ohta Seiki is a manufacturer of "Monster Wolf" wild animal repelling devices in the town of Naie in Central Hokkaido. It is currently developing a new self-propelled model that can move around fields on four legs. Their goal is to warn away wild animals like deer and bears more effectively than traditional stationary models and achieve a higher repellant effect. They hope to conduct field tests in farmland in 2022, and are displaying a devotion to actualizing "robotic countermeasures for damage from wild animals."

  • Salmon fisherman Maruko Mizuki from the Utoro area of Shari in Eastern Hokkaido is growing in popularity on social media. He has approximately 20,000 followers on the video posting app "TikTok", where he uploads videos introducing the appeal of the fishing industry and fish. He has become so popular, he opened his own seafood processing shop. He has also appeared as a fashion magazine model, and expresses a strong desire, "To show the young generation the fun of the fishing industry and the deliciousness of Shiretoko fish."

  • Heating equipment and humidifier manufacturer PS Kogyo Sapporo Factory (Kitahiroshima City) was selected as a national green factory to win the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Award (METI Minister Award) for this fiscal year. The award was recognition for PS Kogyo's status as a "Factory in a Forest", the result of their planting and maintaining some twenty thousand trees on the ten-hectare factory property for a half-century since 1973, the year after their factory launched. This is the 11th METI Minister Award for a Hokkaido site.

  • Nippon Paper Industries Co. — touted for its high-quality “Kushiro brand” paper used for newspapers and magazines — ended 100 years of production at its paper mill in Kushiro, Hokkaido, in September, shifting its primary business to thermal power generation.

  • On October 11, Ishiya President Ishimizu Hajime announced that Ishiya will open up their first foreign confectionary store on December 29 in Dubai, the largest city in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Tourism demand has shrunk during the COVID-19 pandemic, and amidst doubts over recovery for a domestic market centering on souvenir sweets, Ishiya is hoping for new opportunities in Dubai as a country that leads the world in vaccine rollout speed and has eased travel restrictions as well.