From the JAMSTEC (Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology) website:
The Deep Sea Drilling Vessel (D/V) Chikyu ("Earth") is the first riser-equipped scientific drilling vessel built specifically for scientific research from the initial planning stage. It is capable of drilling up to 7,000 meters deep into the sea floor and aims to investigate the Earth's mantle and seismogenic zone. The Chikyu explores the Earth as the main platform of the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP).
This highly detailed kit in 1/700 scale of the 210 meter long Chikyu was developed with the full cooperation of JAMSTEC. Features a descriptive instruction pamphlet (all in Japanese) with illustrations by Yoh Morinaga. Primarily a snap-together kit, although Bandai says you may want to glue on some of the smaller details. Can be built as either a full-hull or waterline model. Parts are molded in multiple colors, so a very nice model can be had with no painting at all. Another great release in Bandai's Exploring Lab Series!
BiG NEWS! For the first time anywhere in the world, the Chikyu has been able to extract methane hydrate (a form of natural gas) from the sea floor off the coast of Japan! It's said this discovery could lead to a 100-year supply of natural gas for Japan. Read the Daily Yomiuri news article in English HERE!