5. Mid of passengers on board icebreaker ship "Aurora" and seagull
6. Close of seagull
7. Wide of "Aurora" deck and drift ice
8. Wide of "Aurora" moving through drift ice
9. Mid of cockpit window overlooking drift ice
10. Pan from window to captain
11. SOUNDBITE: (Japanese) Keiichi Hori, Captain of icebreaker "Aurora"
"I observe drift ice every year, and I notice that it is getting thinner and thinner. The extent of drift ice has not changed much, but it has become thinner."
12. Mid of captain with binoculars
13. Mid of mast
14. Zoom out from Aurora's shadow gliding over drift ice to drift ice field
15. Mid of warmly dressed passengers
16. Wide of passengers on the deck
17. SOUNDBITE: (Japanese) Toshinori Inoue, Tourism Head, City of Abashiri
"The fact that the drift ice is diminishing means it is under the influence of global warming. We see drift ice as a barometer that measures the degree of global warming, and we are keeping close watch on the conditions of drift ice. But it is obvious that drift ice is diminishing. We are trying to protect it as a community."
18. Mid shot passing bus
19. Close of bus speed meter
20. Mid of driver driving bus
21. Wide of Kawaguchi Fishery Port
22. Mid of fishermen gathering their catch on the ice
23. SOUNDBITE: (Japanese): Yoko Tejima, Wild Bird Society of Japan
"According to fishermen here Lake Furen's ice is getting thinner."
24. Wide of snow mobile crossing the Kawaguchi Fishery Port
25. Wide of birds feeding on fishermen's leftover catch
26. Wide of visitors putting on dry suits for a dip in Abashiri coast
27. Wide tilt up from drift ice to visitors
27. Wide of visitors floating among drift ice
28. Mid of female visitor demonstrating how to float
29. Wide of icy Utoro district in Shiretoko
Global warming is beginning to affect the northern Japanese region of Hokkaido.
Melting drift ice is one of the more noticeable effects of climate change on the region and its inhabitants.
In response to the changing temperature some local officials have been trying to reduce carbon emissions.
Every year drift ice forming along the Siberian continent travels down to the northern coast of Kushiro in Japan's northern region of Hokkaido.
Usually massive white chunks crowd the coast for as long as 90 days, but more recently, eyewitnesses say the scale of drift ice has greatly diminished.
Much of the drift ice now melts in as little as one week.
Keiichi Hori is captain of the icebreaker "Aurora".
The vessel takes tourists on short excursions to experience the drift ice firsthand.
It's an opportunity that may not last much longer as the temperatures continue to increase.
Hori says that he has noticed that each year the drift ice becomes thinner and thinner, though he says the extent of it is still about the same.
Alarmed by these changes, the city of Abashiri has introduced the 'Drift Ice Trust' to reduce local CO2 emissions.
Toshinori Inoue, head of tourism in Abrashiri, says the melting drift ice is an obvious indicator of global warming.
He adds that the ice provides a way of gauging the effects of climate change, and the city is doing what it can to slow the rate of carbon emissions.
As a result, tourists now ride on hybrid buses and hotels are taking initiatives to adjust air conditioner temperature levels to prioritise nature over the luxury of comfort.
However, the thinning drift ice is also having an effect on conditions under the sea.
Drift ice is responsible for maintaining the sea temperature and cooling the surrounding water.
As cold water travels downward, it creates a nutrient-rich current from the seabed that spawns abundant micro organisms and fish life.
Without enough drift ice to cool the water and sustain the ecosystem, the fish population has been decreasing.
Yoko Tejima of the Wild Bird Society of Japan says fishermen are also reporting thinner ice on Lake Furen, resulting in smaller catches.
For the time being, visitors like those on board the "Aurora" can still enjoy the rare site.
Tourists are enticed to walk on the drift ice and float alongside it in the icy water.
But as temperatures continue to rise, time may be running out for Hokkaido's winter wonders.
As this summer's G8 summit approaches, local officials hope that these fun experiences will inform visitors about the rare and fragile natural phenomenon.
The surrounding Okhotsk Sea, Pacific Ocean, and Kuril Volcanic Belt that penetrates through the region has created unique geological features such as the wetlands, forests, grasslands, and numerous lakes and rivers.
The region attracts about 350 out of 550 species of migrating and resident birds in Japan.
Many of these locations are designated as national parks. The Shiretoko area became a World Natural Heritage site in July 2005.