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Coronavirus punches a hole in Japan's drift-ice tourism

Hokkaido attraction hit hard by COVID-19 outbreak as visitor numbers fall

An icebreaker carrying tourists sails through drift ice in the Sea of Okhotsk off Abashiri, on Japan's northernmost main island of Hokkaido, in January 2017. The decks are a lot emptier this year due to coronavirus fears.   © Kyodo

MOMBETSU, Japan -- This winter's tale of two small cities on Japan's northernmost large island of Hokkaido starts hundreds of kilometers to the north in the ice-cold estuary of the Amur River in Russia's Far East.

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