Japan's first Arctic research vessel, currently under construction by the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC) with an expected completion in fiscal 2026, will be named "Mirai II," announced Science Minister Masahito Moriyama Thursday.

The name was selected from over 7,000 suggestions from the public.

Since 1998, JAMSTEC's oceanographic research vessel "Mirai," which translates to "future," has been engaged in research activities in the Arctic Ocean. However, the vessel had been limited to operating in ice-free areas due to its inability to break through ice.

In 2015, the Japanese government formulated its Arctic policy in response to growing international interest in studying the Arctic Ocean, where the impacts of climate change are increasingly apparent. With the aim of disseminating its scientific knowledge and contributing to the formation of related international rules, JAMSTEC started building a research vessel capable of breaking ice in the Arctic.

Mirai II will measure 128 meters in length, slightly shorter than "Shirase," Japan's Antarctic research vessel, which is 138 meters long. Designed to be capable of breaking sea ice up to 1.2 meters thick, the new ship will be equipped with observation and research facilities on board, including a weather radar. It will also serve as a mother ship for underwater drones.