• Eleven years have passed since the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, and the Kushiro and Nemuro regions of eastern Hokkaido still urgently need to draw up disaster prevention measures for the midwinter period — including ways to avoid damage from so-called ice-tsunamis, or giant waves carrying floes of ice.

  • Furihata Hidekatsu (78), who remained in Karafuto (Sakhalin in the Russian Far East) after World War II and later lived in Ukraine for more than 50 years, has returned to Japan after escaping the military invasion by Russia, and arrived at Asahikawa Airport on March 20. His sister, Hatakeyama Reiko (70) lives in Asahikawa. Two other sisters from Sapporo also came to the airport that day and were happy to be reunited.

  • The announcement and award ceremony for the 94th U.S. Academy Awards was held in Hollywood on March 27 (March 28 Japan time), and "Drive My Car" by director Hamaguchi Ryusuke (43) won the Oscar for Best International Feature Film. To film the climax scene, lead actor Nishijima Hidetoshi and cast visited the city of Akabira in the Central Hokkaido Sorachi region, and Akabira residents expressed joy at how proud the award made them feel for their city.

  • Nana Takagi, who with her younger sister Miho became the first pair of speed skating siblings to appear at three Olympic Winter Games, announced her retirement on Tuesday.

  • A St. Patrick’s Day parade, in which people dress in green and walk through the streets as part of a traditional Irish festival, was held in central Sapporo on March 19. Approximately 50 people took part in the parade, which was held for the first time in three years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Irish fiddle and flute music was performed by participants as they marched through the city streets, where snow still remained.

  • This winter, the Hoshino Resort Tomamu Ski Resort is obliging users of off-piste areas, which are limited to experienced skiers, to register with the ‘Yukiyama’ GPS app on their smartphones. The appeal of the restricted areas is that it allows skiers to ski in an almost pristine natural environment, but the visibility is not as good as that on other groomed slopes. The use of the app is intended to help rescue people quickly in the event of an accident, and to help prevent such accidents. According to the resort, there have been rescue requests from lost skiers in the past.

  • One of the reasons why Sapporo is aiming to host the 2030 Winter Olympics and Paralympics is to establish itself as a world-class urban snow resort. The city hopes to be better recognized globally so that it can welcome more tourists from abroad and boost its economy. Currently, foreign tourists are attracted to world-famous ski destinations such as Niseko, some 100 kilometers away from Sapporo, and tend to pass through Sapporo, tourism industry officials say. The city still has a long way to go to become an internationally renowned tourist attraction, as challenges remain, including the shortage of luxury hotels.

  • the Nemuro region. On March 10, two netted deer were sighted near the middle of the 28-kilometer long sandspit. The nonprofit "Notsuke Eco Network", which engages in activities including cleaning projects, is considering tranquilizing the deer with blow-dart-delivered anesthesia to remove the tangled netting.

  • On March 10, five ninth-grade students who were about to graduate from Kushiro City Akanko Compulsory Education School observed ‘Lake Akan marimo,’ balls of algae that are designated special natural monuments of Japan, is they await spring beneath the ice-covered Lake Akan. The students visited Chuurui Bay in the northern part of Lake Akan – to which access for visitors is normally limited – and rediscovered the value of this local ‘treasure.’

  • Fujita Yuhei, a native of Asahikwa competed as a guide skier at the Beijing Winter Paralympics, guiding Ariyasu Ryouhei in the men's 12.5 km visually impaired Free Cross-country Skiing event on March 12. Although the pair finished 16th in their third and final event of the competition, Fujita was praised by locals in Asahikawa for his all-out support, saying that his skiing is a “role model for children” and that it will surely lead to future success on the world stage.