• Kyodo

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The town of Nyuzen, Toyama Prefecture, on the Sea of Japan coast is setting its eyes this year on fully moving ahead with an initiative to use the unique deep seawater in Toyama Bay to help boost development of the area, according to local officials.

The initiative comes amid growing recognition of the unique features of the water in the bay, which is known for its firefly squid and other natural resources.

Town officials say the bay’s water deeper than 200 meters has a stable temperature and quality, with research indicating a fairly constant temperature of about 1 degree throughout the year.

Temperatures near the sea surface vary widely between 8 and 30 degrees according to the season, the prefecture said.

Also known for its purity and richness in minerals, the deep seawater is being used in commercial products, including cosmetics and health drinks.

In 1999, Nyuzen launched an initiative to bring up seawater from nearly 400 meters deep at a location about 3 km off the coast, in an effort to revitalize the fishing industry, which has been reeling from a low catch, although a facility for water intake only began operating in 2001.

Officials said about 70 percent of the water will be used for abalone breeding and other measures to stimulate the local fishing industry, and 30 percent will be available to firms for development of new products.

They are also hopeful that the initiative will lead to creation of jobs if more companies from other prefectures see business opportunities in the area.

In 2001, for example, Asahi Breweries Ltd. produced “happoshu,” a low-malt, beerlike beverage, using the town’s water.

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