National Institute of Polar Research

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History of the National Institute of Polar Research

December 1959 Japan joined the Antarctic Treaty
May 1961

The Science Council of Japan advised the creation of the “Institute of Polar Research” (tentative) to the government

April 1962 (“Polar Department” of the National Science Museum established)
April 1970 ​(“Polar Department” reorganized as “Polar Research Center”)
September 29, 1973 The National Institute of Polar Research established
April 1993 NIPR became an infrastructure institute of the Graduate University for Advanced Studies (SOKENDAI)

July 1998

​Antarctic Environmental Protection Law became effective
April 2004 NIPR was reorganized as part of ROIS
May 2009 NIPR relocated to new campus in Tachikawa-shi, Tokyo
August 2009 “Open House” of NIPR started
July 2010 ​NIPR Polar Science Museum opened
September 2013 40th anniversary since establishment of NIPR
February 2014 ​Over 100,000 visitors recorded at Polar Science Museum
July 2017 ​Over 200,000 visitors recorded at Polar Science Museum
September 2019 Over 300,000 visitors recorded at Polar Science Museum
July 2020 10th anniversary of the Polar Science Museum

History of Antarctic Expeditions

(January 1912) (Mr. Nobu Shirase’s Antarctic expedition team reached 80 degrees south latitude)
November 1956 Japan’s first Antarctic expedition departed upon the icebreaker ship “Soya”
January 1957 Syowa Station established in Ongul Island, Antarctica
February 1962 1962 ​Syowa Station closed temporarily
November 1965 Research vessel “Fuji” launched
January 1966 Syowa Station reopened
February 1969 Round-trip to the South Pole achieved
December 1969 First Antarctic meteorite discovered
February 1970 Observation by rocket
June 1970 ​“Mizuho Station” (observation base) established
October 1979 ​Large number of Antarctic meteorites collected
October 1982 ”Ozone hole” was discovered
November 1983 Research vessel “Shirase” launched
March 1985 “Asuka Station” (observation base) established
February 1989 Multifunctional antenna installed
February 1995 ​“Dome Fuji Station” established
December 1996 Polar ice sheet drilled own until 2,503m
January 1999 Large number of Antarctic meteorites collected
January 2001 Large number of Antarctic meteorites collected
February 2002 Specialized ship was added for South Pacific observation
February 2004 Intelsat satellite communication system activated
January 2005 Aircraft observation base established on the continent of Antarctica
2006-2007 50th anniversary of Antarctic research project
January 2007 Polar ice sheet drilled down to a depth of 3,035m
November 2009 New “Shirase” launched
2010​ Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology’s training ship “Unitaka-Maru” joined Antarctic research project
February 2010 Over 17,000 Antarctic meteorites collected
March 2011 PANSY large –scale atmospheric radar began collecting data
August 2014 Snow Vehicles Type-KD60 certified as Mechanical Engineering Heritage
2016 Japanese Antarctic Research Project Phase IX started
January 2017 60th anniversary of “Syowa Station”

History of Arctic Research

August 1976 Japan-France International Joint Observation in Norway
August 1977 Geomagnetic Conjugate Point Observation in Iceland
August 1984 Bipolar Aurora Conjugate Observation in Iceland started (up to now)
June 1990 Arctic Environment Research Center established
January 1991 Ny-Ålesund Research Station established Joins International Arctic Science Committee (IASC)
April 1996 Joins European Incoherent Scatter Scientific Association (EISCAT)
March 1998 Japanese-German airborne Arctic expedition
April 2004 Arctic Environment Research Center reorganized
April 2008 North Greenland Eemian Ice Drilling (NEEM) began
July 2011 GRENE - Arctic Project started (finished on March 2016)
April 2015 Arctic Environment Research Center reorganized to enhance international collaboration
"Arctic Science Summit Week" was held in Toyama
September 2015 ArCS (Arctic Challenge for Sustinability) project started (finished on March 2020)
April 2016 J-ARCNet started
September 2016​ ​25th anniversary of Ny-Ålesund Research Station
April 2019 Relocation of Ny-Ålesund NIPR Observatory
September 2019 Opening Ceremony of Ny-Ålesund NIPR Observatory
June 2020 ArCS II (Arctic Challenge for Sustainability II) Project started
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