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Japan joins Arctic race with 1st research icebreaker for region

$295m ship will enable full-year observation of climate change effects

Japan's new Arctic research icebreaker will be able to study the seafloor. (Image courtesy of the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology)

TOKYO -- Japan has begun work on its first ship able to conduct Arctic research year-round, even when the sea is frozen, as climate change draws the world's attention to the region.

The 13,000-ton, 128-meter icebreaker is being built by Japan Marine United based on a design from the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology.

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