Japanese leeches against invasive slugs


This video is about Limax maximus slugs mating in their native Norway.

From Hokkaido University in Japan:

Native leech preys on invasive slug?

July 21, 2017

Summary: Citizen science has revealed the spread of the invasive giant slug Limax maximus

aka leopard slug

and its potential native predator in Japan, providing new insights into predator-prey dynamics between introduced prey and native predators.

The giant slug Limax maximus is native to Europe and Asia Minor but has spread widely, being found in North America, South America, North Africa, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and other regions. The slug is recognized as a notorious pest because it eats agricultural and garden crops.

In Japan, L. maximus was first found in Ibaraki Prefecture in 2006 and its population has rapidly spread throughout the country, making it difficult for scientists and local governments to monitor the slug’s occurrence and behavior.

Yuta Morii of Hokkaido University and Takafumi Nakano of Hiroshima University investigated the habitat range of L. maximus in Hokkaido, Japan, by recruiting ordinary citizens as “citizen scientists” through a local newspaper and a television program.

A total of 38 observations were reported by the citizen scientists from February 8 to October 18 in 2016, including 29 reports accompanied by a photograph, the exact location and the date of the observation. The team analyzed these 29 records along with previously published records about the species.

At least 16 naturalized populations of L. maximus were found in Hokkaido, 14 of which were previously unknown. Four sites were more than 30 kilometers from Sapporo, where the species was first detected in 2012, and were distant from each other.

Notably, one observer submitted a photo of an L. maximus individual being preyed on by a microphagous leech, Orobdella kawakatsuorum. Orobdella leeches are known to inhabit Japan and adjacent regions, and were thought to feed on only earthworms, not slugs. “It was a surprise to see this specialist predator might have changed its prey to include the newly appeared resource,” says Morii.

“Citizen science has proven to be a powerful tool for revealing the spread of recently introduced species, and could even provide significant data to better understand predator-prey dynamics. This study also revealed that L. maximus feeds on cucumber, sweet potato, lettuce and Chinese cabbage, which emphasizes the importance of controlling their populations,” Morii said.

Fukushima radiation problems in Japan


This video says about itself:

Radioactive Salmon Discovered in Canada Linked to Fukushima Nuclear Contamination

22 December 2016

A team of research scientists from the University of Victoria in Canada discovered radioactive salmon due to Fukushima nuclear contamination.

Researchers at the Fukushima InFORM project in Canada, led by University of Victoria chemical oceanographer Jay Cullen, said they sampled a sockeye salmon from Okanagan Lake in British Columbia that tested positive for cesium 134.

This finding comes after seaborne cesium 123, which is thought to be an indicator of nuclear contamination from Fukushima, was detected on the West Coast of the United States this month.

It’s the first time Canadian experts confirmed the news that radioactive plume has made its way across the Pacific to America’s West Coast from the demolished Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in eastern Japan.

Cullen with his research team as well as 600 volunteers started their research on the Fukushima nuclear contamination in 2014 and have collected fish and seawater samples.

Cesium 134 is called the “footprint of Fukushima” because of its fast rate of decay. With a half life of only 2.06 years, there are few other places the dangerous and carcinogenic isotope could have originated.

“In 2015, we collected an individual fish that we could detect artificial radioactivity in the fish itself. This contrasts with almost all the other fish we’ve collected on the order of about 400 fish over those three years where we were unable to actually detect any artificial radionuclides in the individuals. In this particular one, we can detect cesium-137 which is artificial, a man made radio nuclide, and so we decided to have a more careful look to see if some of that contamination was related to Fukushima. The way that we do that is to look for cesium-134 and that isotope has a relatively short half life of two years, and if we see cesium-134 in a fish today, we know that it has been affected by Fukushima. When we count for longer, we can see smaller and smaller amounts of radioactivity,” said Jay Cullen, professor of the School of Earth and Ocean Sciences with the University of Victoria.

It is important to note that airborne radioactive fallout from the initial explosion and meltdowns at Fukushima in 2011 reached the USA and Canada within days, and circled the globe falling out wherever the currents and precipitation carried it – mostly to places unknown to this day.

More here.

US sailors who ‘fell sick from Fukushima radiation’ allowed to sue Japan, nuclear plant operator — The Telegraph: here.

From Kyodo news agency in Japan:

Fukushima’s tritiated water to be dumped into sea, Tepco chief says

July 14, 2017

Despite the objections of local fishermen, the tritium-tainted water stored at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant will be dumped into the sea, a top official at Tokyo Electric says.

“The decision has already been made,” Takashi Kawamura, chairman of Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc., said in a recent interview with the media. …

As of July 6, about 777,000 tons were stored in about 580 tanks at the Fukushima plant, which is quickly running out of space.

Tepco’s decision has local fishermen worried that their livelihood is at risk because the radioactive material will further mar public perceptions about the safety of their catches.

Kawamura’s remarks are the first by the utility’s management on the sensitive matter. Since the March 2011 meltdowns were brought under control, the Fukushima No. 1 plant has been generating tons of toxic water that has been filling up hundreds of tanks at the tsunami-hit plant.

Kawamura’s comments came at a time when a government panel is still debating how to deal with the tritium issue, including whether to dump it all into sea.

Saying its next move is contingent on the panel’s decision, Kawamura hinted in the interview that Tepco will wait for the government’s decision before actually releasing the tainted water into the sea.

“We cannot keep going if we do not have the support of the state” as well as Fukushima Prefecture and other stakeholders, he said. …

But fishermen who make their livelihoods from sea life near the plant are opposed to the releases because of how the potential ramifications will affect their lives. …

Tachiya, of the cooperative that includes fishermen from the towns of Futaba and Okuma, which host the plant, took a swipe at Tepco’s decision, saying there has been “no explanation whatsoever from Tepco to local residents.”

On March 11, 2011, a tsunami inundated the six-reactor plant, situated 10 meters above sea level, and flooded the power supply, causing a station blackout. The cooling systems of reactors 1, 2 and 3 were thus crippled, leading to core meltdowns that became the world’s worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986.

Water is being constantly injected into the leaking reactors to keep the molten fuel cool, creating tons of extremely toxic water 24/7. Although it is filtered through a complex processing system, extracting the tritium is virtually impossible.

Fishermen express fury as Fukushima plant set to release radioactive material into ocean — The Telegraph: here.

” It’ll be a tough journey – previous robots sent in to the ruined nuclear reactor didn’t make it back. … ” View BBC News’ photo essay on Toshiba’s newest swimming robot, a “little sunfish” that is hoped to withstand off-the-charts radiation levels in Fukushima Daiichi’s wrecked containment vessel: here.

Or will this mechanical ‘little sunfish‘ fare as badly as living fish in the Pacific Ocean off Fukushima?

This video says about itself:

Japan’s Homeless Recruited to Clean Up Fukushima Radioactive Hotspots

30 December 2013

It is five o’clock in the morning and close to freezing point in Sendai, 360 kilometres (200 miles) north of Tokyo.

For those living rough, this station is one of the warmest places to sleep, however, their refuge is also a recruiting ground for labour brokers. The men in Sendai Station are potential labourers who can be dispatched to contractors in Japan’s nuclear disaster zone for a bounty of $100 a head.

Shizuya Nishiyama, who is 57, has been homeless for a year and sleeps on a cardboard box, next to a shop window in Sendai station.

Twice Nishiyama says he has been recruited to scrub down radioactive hotpots in Fukushima, 80 kilometres (50 miles) to the south.

“We’re an easy target for recruiters. We turn up here with all our bags, wheeling them around and around the station and we’re easy to spot,” Nishiyama said as the first passengers of the day hurried to their trains.

Nishiyama’s first employer in Sendai offered him $90 a day for his first job clearing tsunami debris unrelated to the Fukushima site. However, he was made to pay as much as $50 a day for food and lodging. He also was not paid on the days he was unable to work. On those days, though, he would still be charged for room and board. He decided he was better off living on the street than going into debt.

“They say to us: ‘Are you looking for work? Are you hungry?’ And if we haven’t eaten anything, they then offer to find us a job,” Nishiyama added.

Almost three years ago, a massive earthquake and tsunami levelled villages across Japan’s northeast coast and set off multiple meltdowns at the Fukushima nuclear plant. Today, the most ambitious radiation clean-up ever attempted is running behind schedule. The effort is being dogged by both a lack of oversight and a shortage of workers, according to a Reuters analysis of contracts and interviews with dozens of those involved.

In Sendai, the largest city on Japan’s tsunami-devastated northeast coast, homeless people like Nishiyama have flocked here in the hope of finding reconstruction work in the disaster zone.

Activists have said that those jobs are increasingly hard to find. Now more than 300 people live rough in Sendai, twice as many as before the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

For companies operating near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, that has presented an opportunity.

“There’s this problem where workers are reaching their radiation limits in Fukushima, and are not allowed to continue working. There’s actually an overall shortage of people available to do those dangerous jobs. So it’s to make up that shortfall that homeless people are now being made to risk their lives,” said Yasuhiro Aoki, a Baptist pastor and head of a support group for Sendai’s homeless.

The shortage of those willing and available to take on dirty and dangerous jobs in Fukushima has not pushed wages higher, workers, lawyers and volunteers said.

Responsibility for monitoring the hiring, safety records and suitability of hundreds of small firms involved in Fukushima’s decontamination rests with the top contractors, including Kajima Corp, Taisei Corp and Shimizu Corp, officials said.

As a practical matter, however, many of the construction companies involved in the clean-up say it is impossible to monitor what is happening on the ground because of the multiple layers of contracts for each job that keep the top contractors removed from those doing the work.

Wage data provided by police in one investigated case showed that after deductions for food and lodging, workers were left with an hourly rate of about $6, just below the minimum wage equal to about $6.50 per hour in Fukushima. Some of the homeless men ended up in debt after fees for food and housing were deducted, police said.

Aoki explained the homeless people’s situation further.

“Without any information about potential dangers, many homeless people are just put into dormitories – and the fees for lodging and food automatically docked from their wages. Then, at the end of the month, they’re left with no pay at all,” Aoki said.

Former wrestling promoter Seiji Sasa, 67 has recruited Sendai’s homeless for more than two decades.

He said he earns about 100 dollars for every introduction, and many of his recent hires are likely to end up in a radioactive workplace but that he didn’t ask questions.

“I don’t ask any questions, that’s not my job. I just find people and send them to work. I send them and get money in exchange. That’s it. I don’t get involved in what happens after that,” Sasa said.

“As a broker, it’s thanks to homeless people that I’ve been able to eat. I introduce them to work, receive money in return, and make my living. If what I did killed homeless people, then I’d be out of a job,” he added.

For Nishiyama, radiation is the last thing on his mind. He just wants to make it through the winter and prepare his cardboard box against the cold of the nights to come.

This Reuters report forgets to mention that recruiting these homeless people as nuclear radiation cannon fodder is done by Yakuza gangsters. This other Reuters report does mention that.

From Kyodo news agency in Japan:

Radiation levels exceeding state-set limit found on grounds of five Chiba schools

Jun 13, 2017

Radiation levels exceeding the government-set safety limit of 0.23 microsieverts per hour have been detected on the grounds of five schools in the city of Kashiwa, Chiba Prefecture, the prefectural board of education said Monday.

Between late April and mid-May, the board officials detected radiation levels of up to 0.72 microsieverts per hour in certain areas of the schools, including Kashiwa High School and Kashiwa Chuo High School. The areas — including soil near a school swimming pool and drainage gutters — are not frequented by students, but the board closed them off and will work to quickly decontaminate them, the officials said.

Kashiwa has been one of the areas with high radiation readings since the 2011 nuclear disaster at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s Fukushima No. 1 power plant.

According to NHK, the board of education had been checking the soil on the school premises in Kashiwa after radiation levels beyond the state limit were detected in shrubbery near the city’s public gymnasium. The board will announce the results of radiation tests at other schools in the prefecture around the end of July, NHK reported.

Radioactively-hot particles detected in dusts and soils from Northern Japan by combination of gamma spectrometry, autoradiography, and SEM/EDS analysis and implications in radiation risk assessment — Marco Kaltofen, Arnie Gundersen, ScienceDirect: here.

Radioactive hot particles still afloat throughout Japan six years after Fukushima meltdowns — BuzzFlash: here.

Increases in perinatal mortality in prefectures contaminated by the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident in Japan — U.S. National Library of Medicine: here.

Korean sex slaves of Japanese army, first video ever


This video from South Korea says about itself:

Footage of Korean women sexually enslaved by Japanese soldiers in WWII revealed for the first time

Japan’s sexual enslavement of Korean women during World War Two

More than just another unresolved issue that strains bilateral relations, there are survivors of the atrocity and their families who more than deserve apology and compensation.

However, Tokyo has been devoted to denying and burrying its wartime sins.

At long last crucial evidence that should aid efforts to corner Japan into acknowledging historic facts and facing reality has been found.
Lee Ji-won tells us more.

Women,… with faces full of fear,… are lined up against a wall.

A man, presumed to be a Chinese officer, talks to them.

This short 18 second video is of seven Korean women sexually enslaved by the Japanese soldiers in Yunnan province, southwest China, around the end of World War II.

It is the first-ever video footage of Korean victims that has been found. On Wednesday, Seoul city and Professor Chung Chin-sung of Seoul National University unveiled the video from 1944,… which had been stored in the National Archives and Records Administration of the United States for over 70 years.

Previously,… footage of Chinese comfort women had been found,… but there were only pictures and documents on the Korean comfort women.

But after the professor and his research team were certain that a video on the Korean victims existed, they spent two years searching for the footage,… and they finally found what they were looking for amongst hundreds of film reels last month.

The footage was taken by an American combat photographer just after the region was reclaimed from Japan by the Chinese. During World War II, an estimated 200-thousand women, mostly Koreans, were kidnapped and forced to become sex slaves for Japanese troops.

While an agreement between Korea and Japan was made by the previous Park Geun-hye administration in 2015,… where Japan financially compensated the victims with one billion yen, or about 8-point-9 million U.S. dollars, thousands of citizens and the surviving victims criticized and refused the deal as Tokyo claimed there was no evidence of the Japanese military forcing the enslavement of women.

But with Korea’s newly elected President Moon Jae-in calling for renegotiation of the deal,… the research team says that they hope the footage will work as a tool to open up such talks. “We hope the new findings will bring the public’s attention and interest on the matter,… so that when President Moon has his first bilateral talk with the Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, at the G20 summit later this week, an atmosphere for renegotiation can be made.”

With only 38 Korean victims still alive,… the research team stressed their determination to uncover this video evidence of Japan’s sexual slavery so that there’s a chance for the issue to be resolved within their lifetimes.

Lee Ji-won, Arirang News.

Japanese right-wing government loses local election


This video says about itself:

Japanese protest against Shinzo Abe‘s attempt to change constitution

21 May 2017

“What should be changed is not the Constitution but politics!” Young Japanese stage a protest against Prime Minister Shinzo Abe‘s attempt to amend the pacifist Constitution.

From Reuters news agency:

Sun Jul 2, 2017 | 8:50am EDT

Japan PM’s party suffers historic defeat in Tokyo poll, popular governor wins big

By Linda Sieg | TOKYO

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe‘s Liberal Democratic Party suffered an historic defeat in an election in the Japanese capital on Sunday, signaling trouble ahead for the premier, who has suffered from slumping support because of a favoritism scandal.

On the surface, the Tokyo Metropolitan assembly election was a referendum on Governor Yuriko Koike‘s year in office, but the dismal showing for Abe’s party is also a stinging rebuke of his 4-1/2-year-old administration.

Koike’s Tokyo Citizens First party and its allies were on track for between 73 to 85 seats in the 127-seat assembly, according to exit polls by NHK public TV.

Later vote counts showed the LDP was certain to post its worst-ever result, winning at most 37 seats compared with 57 before the election, NHK said, while Koike’s party and allies were assured a majority.

“We must recognize this as an historic defeat,” former defense minister Shigeru Ishiba was quoted by NHK as saying.

Shizo Abe’s present war … sorry, I should use the euphemism ‘defense’ minister, Tomomi Inada, is friends with the fuehrer of Japan’s neonazi party.

“Rather than a victory for Tokyo Citizens First, this is a defeat for the LDP,” said Ishiba, who is widely seen as an Abe rival within the ruling party. …

Past Tokyo elections have been bellwethers for national trends. A 2009 Tokyo poll in which the LDP won just 38 seats was followed by its defeat in a general election that year …

Koike, a media-savvy ex-defense minister and former LDP member, took office a year ago as the first female governor in the capital, defying the local LDP chapter to run and promising to reform governance of a megacity with a population of 13.7 million and an economy bigger than Holland’s. …

“We may discover that Japan is not all that different from Britain, France, and the U.S. in its ability to produce a big political surprise,” he said, referring to recent elections in those countries.

The LDP’s thrashing could also make it harder for Abe to pursue his cherished goal of revising the U.S.-drafted constitution’s pacifist Article 9 by 2020, a politically divisive agenda, said Sophia University professor Koichi Nakano.

“His prime motive to stay in power is his desire to revise the constitution, but once his popularity really starts to fall, that becomes very difficult to do,” Nakano said.

Abe‘s troubles center on concern he may have intervened to help Kake Gakuen (Kake Educational Institution), whose director, Kotaro Kake, is a friend, win approval for a veterinary school in a special economic zone.

The government has not granted such an approval in decades due to a perceived glut of veterinarians. Abe and his aides have denied doing Kake any favors.

Potentially more devastating is the impression among many voters that Abe and his inner circle have grown arrogant. …

Abe is expected to reshuffle his cabinet in coming months in an effort to repair his damaged ratings, a step often taken by beleaguered leaders but one that can backfire if novice ministers become embroiled in scandals or commit gaffes.

Among those many political insiders expect to be replaced is Defense Minister Tomomi Inada. Inada’s remark during the Tokyo campaign seeking voter support in the name of the Self-Defense Forces, as the military is known, came under heavy fire. By law, the military is required to be politically neutral.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe plans to accelerate the revision of the country’s constitution at a faster than expected pace. During a speech on June 24, he proposed that his ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) would submit proposed changes to lawmakers by the end of the year. At the top of the list of amendments is the alteration of Article 9, often referred to as the pacifist clause, in order to accelerate Japan’s remilitarization: here.

Japanese PM Abe’s support slides again before parliament appearance: here.

Japanese artist Hokusai exhibition in London


This video from Britain says about itself:

Hokusai: Beyond the Great Wave

18 May 2017

As a new exhibition dedicated to Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai opens at the British Museum in London, this film explores the legacy and impact of his most iconic image, the Great Wave, and asks why it has such appeal.

By Christine Lindey in England:

Navigator of a floating world

Saturday 10th June 2017

CHRISTINE LINDEY pays tribute to the artistic journey of Japanese printmaker Katsushika Hokusai, a seminal figure in the development of modernism

AT THE age of 75, Katsushika Hokusai wrote that he’d drawn since the age of six and had long been successful but, until the age of 70, “nothing I drew was worthy of notice. At 73 years I was somewhat able to fathom the growth of trees and plants and the structure of birds, animals, insects and fish.”

And he hoped to go on to see further into “the underlying principle of things.”

The thoughtfully curated exhibition Beyond the Great Wave, now on at the British Museum, wisely focuses on his last three decades, in which Hokusai (1760-1849) did indeed produce his best works.

He had inauspicious beginnings. Born into a working-class district of Edo in Japan, he was adopted in childhood by a mirror maker and put to work as a bookshop’s delivery boy when six years old.

But in his mid-teens he was apprenticed to a woodcut printer and he was carving entire wood blocks by the age of 16. Two years later Katsukawa Shunsho, a leading Ukiyo-e (Floating World) artist, took him as his pupil. Hokusai worked as a commercial artist for the rest of his life.

In his mid-thirties, after years of hardship, success came his way with many commissions from prestigious patrons. Over his lengthy life, amazingly prolific, he produced 3,000 colour prints, illustrations to over 200 books, hundreds of surviving drawings and nearly 1,000 paintings.

Although technically highly accomplished, Hokusai’s earlier works, such as Boy’s Festival of 1826, are emotionally and spiritually reticent and lack the spontaneity of his late ones.

Yet their superb draughtsmanship, based on acute observation, and their delicate sensibility foretell the mastery of later works such as The Great Wave of Kanagawa of 1831.

Known as The Great Wave, it is now famous worldwide, yet few may know it as one of his print series, Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji. Published in 1834 and 1835, confusingly it actually numbers 46.

In Hokusai’s lifetime this sacred mountain was a popular object of spiritual veneration. It was one of his personal talismans and, as a Nichiren Buddhist, he believed that humans commune through such images.

For the Mount Fuji series, Hokusai travelled around many diverse districts overlooked by the mountain. Sometimes barely visible, sometimes dominant, he depicted it as a sage witnessing all manner of human and animal life and natural phenomena below.

Whether overlooking human hardship or joy, or nature’s benign or ferocious moods, the mountain remains impassive, permanent, enduring and serene, be it covered in snow, rising above sudden torrential rain or bathed in balmy sunlight.

Most Mount Fuji prints include empathic scenes of everyday life. We see farm workers, pilgrims, fisherfolk, samurai, ferrymen or travellers. Not forgetting his humble roots, Hokusai often depicted peasants and workers carrying heavy loads or battling with the elements.

In The Great Wave, the stalwart oarsmen in flimsy boats, delivering fish, battle courageously with the ferocious sea.

Thousands of these prints were produced in Hokusai’s day. At about the price of two helpings of noodles, almost everyone could own one. Other series tackled the themes of waterfalls, bridges, flowers, birds, fish and imaginary mythical beings and creatures.

Going beyond sensitive descriptions of his subjects, Hokusai’s mature works convey his belief in the interconnectedness of all things and in the balance of opposite forces — the ephemerality of sea spray and the immutability of the mountain, or a limpid cloudspeckled sky above terrifying flashes of lightning.

Hokusai delighted in the challenge of creating static images of the drama and transience of water, that most changeable of elements, in all its forms — from slow snowflakes to churning whirlpools or from sparkling sea spray to driving rain.

Rather than attempting to mimic these, as in European art, he invented marks which equate them — hence the liveliness and seemingly “abstract” squiggles and splatters evoking the edges of waves and the parallel curves and lines depicting rushing waterfalls.

Seeing their decorative potential, he used these in the stunning painted ceiling panels of a festival cart titled Waves and in his Picture Book, a cheaply available manual to advise the young, both of 1848.

Hokusai retained the traditional Japanese purity of line and asymmetrical compositions — often balancing busy patterned areas with “empty” ones — and respect for the flatness of the pictorial surface. Yet he also incorporated European techniques, including perspective, to suggest spatial recession and shading to suggest solidity.

It now seems incredible that dominant European taste long considered such truly great art to be childishly “primitive.” But from the 1860s onwards the avant-garde, from Claude Monet to Vincent Van Gogh, understood that less is more.

Their admiration for the subtlety and economy of means in Japanese prints, including Hokusai’s, laid down the fundamentals of 20th-century modernist art.

This chance to see his original work is not to be missed.

Hokusai: Beyond the Great Wave runs at the British Museum in London until August 13, box office: britishmuseum.org.

Japan’s biggest ever dinosaur discovery


The bones of the dinosaur Mukawaryu which have been cleaned so far. These likely represent more than half of the bones the dinosaur had

From Hokkaido University in Japan:

Japan’s largest complete dinosaur skeleton discovered

June 6, 2017

Summary: The complete skeleton of an eight-meter-long dinosaur has been unearthed from marine deposits dating back 72 million years at Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido, making it the largest dinosaur skeleton ever found in Japan.

Excavations to uncover a fossilized duck-billed dinosaur (Hadrosauridae) in the Hobetsu district of Mukawa Town have been underway since 2013. It is the third time a complete skeleton of a Hadrosaurid from a marine stratum has ever been discovered, according to the research team from Hokkaido University and Hobetsu Museum in Mukawa.

Hadrosaurids, or duck-billed dinosaurs, were common herbivores during the Late Cretaceous Period (about 100 million to 66 million years ago) and thrived on the Eurasian, North and South American continents as well as at Antarctica. Complete hadrosaur skeletons have been unearthed on these continents, but it is extremely rare for a complete skeleton of a land dinosaur to be discovered in a marine stratum.

In 1936, a complete hadrosaur skeleton was unearthed from a marine stratum in Sakhalin and named Nipponosaurus by Professor Takumi Nagao of Hokkaido Imperial University (predecessor of Hokkaido University). It had been the only such fossilized dinosaur from a marine stratum that was assigned a name. The latest discovery of the fossilized skeleton, nicknamed “Mukawaryu” (Mukawa dragon), represents the third such discovery in the world, including a complete skeleton of an undescribed specimen.

If a complete skeleton is defined as a skeleton containing more than 50 percent of the bones, Mukawaryu represents the second complete dinosaur skeleton unearthed in Japan after Fukuivenator, a 2.5-meter carnivore from the Early Cretaceous Period (about 145 million to 100 million years ago) discovered in Katsuyama City, Fukui Prefecture. Mukawaryu is the first complete skeleton of a herbivore from the Late Cretaceous Period and from a marine stratum in Japan.

Dr. Yoshitsugu Kobayashi of the research team said “We first discovered a part of the fossilized Mukawaryu skeleton in 2013, and after a series of excavations, we believe we have cleaned more than half of the bones the dinosaur had, making it clear that it is a complete skeleton.”

There are more than 50 kinds of dinosaurs in the hadrosaurid dinosaurs, which is grouped into two groups: uncrested (Hadrosaurinae) and crested members (Lambeosaurinae). “Although Mukawaryu has some characteristics of both groups, our preliminary analysis indicated it might belong to the Hadrosaurinae. Further cleaning of the fossils and detailed research should make it clearer which group the Mukawaryu skeleton belongs to,” says Kobayashi.