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Hokkaido: Bag Manufacturer Fashions Backpacks from Old Fishing Nets

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Yuri President Shozaburo Yuri, right, hands over a schoolbag to the deputy mayor of Akkeshi, Hokkaido, in the town on Dec. 16.

AKKESHI, Hokkaido — Old fishing nets have been reworked into nylon randoseru schoolbags by a bag manufacturer in Toyooka, Hyogo Prefecture. The manufacturer has donated some of the randoseru to Akkeshi, Hokkaido, where the used fishing nets were collected.

The town of Akkeshi will present the donated bags to 13 children who will enter elementary school in April this year, and hopes that the children will take an interest in marine environmental protection together with their parents.

The schoolbags, branded “school backpack UMI,” are being manufactured by bag maker Yuri in Toyooka, a city famous for its bag production. They have been on sale nationwide since November last year.

The product is part of a project by Tokyo-based general incorporated association “Alliance for the Blue,” which promotes the creation of products that contribute to protection of the marine environment. About 65% of the bags are made of nylon fabric created from pelletized fishing nets, which are collected from fishermen on the east coast of Hokkaido by a fishing net manufacturer and retailer in Akkeshi. In addition to being environmentally friendly, the bags are said to be stronger, more water-resistant and lighter than ordinary schoolbags.

At a gifting ceremony held at Akkeshi’s town hall on Dec. 16, Yuri President Shozaburo Yuri said: “After being processed by a number of different businesses, waste fishing nets collected in Akkeshi were turned into schoolbags. We thought that the children of Akkeshi should be the first to use them.” The deputy mayor of the town said, “I hope that this will be an opportunity for the children and adults of Akkeshi to face environmental issues with newfound enthusiasm.”