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Submarine cable housing facility in north Japan to be registered as cultural property

The Nemuro-Kunashiri submarine cable housing facility is seen in Nemuro, Hokkaido Prefecture, on Oct. 9, 2021. (Mainichi/Hiroaki Homma)

NEMURO, Hokkaido -- It has been officially decided that a facility housing a submarine cable that used to connect this city in Japan's northernmost prefecture of Hokkaido and the Northern Territories located northeast of the prefecture's main island will be registered as a nationally designated tangible cultural property.

    The registration was announced in the official gazette on Oct. 14. Local preservation efforts which had gone on for over 20 years seem to have paid off.

    The Nemuro-Kunashiri submarine cable housing facility connected Nemuro and the Northern Territories until shortly after World War II. The concrete storehouse which remains in the city of Nemuro is 3.8 meters in width and 5.9 meters in depth, and has a height of 3.7 meters. It was the starting point of the telegraph network on the mainland side which was stretched out all over the country to prepare for the Russo-Japanese War. The telegraph lines reached as far as the village of Shibetoro, located in the northern part of Etorofu island. It is thought that the facility was built in 1935 at the latest.

    A submarine telegraph cable which was buried 50 centimeters below ground is seen in Nemuro, Hokkaido Prefecture, on Oct. 9, 2021. (Mainichi/Hiroaki Homma)

    The Nemuro Municipal Government purchased the land and the building from private owners in 2013, and had continued to preserve it. The first research excavation of the site was held from Oct. 9 to 11, after it was decided that it would be registered as a cultural property, leading to the discovery of parts of the telegraph wires which were severed after the war.

    (Japanese original by Hiroaki Homma, Nemuro Bureau)

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