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Mt. Fuji huts to limit number of guest climbers next year as coronavirus measure

Mount Fuji is seen from a Mainichi Shimbun helicopter flying over Mishima, Shizuoka Prefecture. (Mainichi)

SHIZUOKA -- The number of climbers accepted as overnight guests at huts on Mount Fuji will be reduced to prevent the spread of the coronavirus from next year's climbing season, according to an interim report released by the Shizuoka Prefectural Government in central Japan.

    The official opening of Japan's highest peak, which straddles Shizuoka and Yamanashi prefectures, was canceled this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. The prefectural government presented the report during an Oct. 30 review meeting with some 30 individuals representing groups including a hut operators' union, guide organizations and transportation business operators.

    The report suggested that when climbers spend a night at the huts on Mount Fuji they be divided into small groups, while either getting partitioned by acrylic boards or maintaining social distance of 2 meters between each group. This measure is aimed at preventing the further spread of infections in case someone at one of the huts tests positive. Hut operators will revise their maximum capacity accordingly.

    Furthermore, climbers will have their temperatures taken at the fifth stations of the Fujinomiya, Gotemba and Subashiri routes where they start the trail, as well as checks on their conditions to see if they are showing symptoms such as coughing and fatigue. They will be advised not to go ahead with climbing if they register a body temperature of at least 1 degree Celsius higher than their normal temperature.

    The report also suggested that the number of climber traffic control guides who would normally be stationed near the mountain's peak will be increased and be tasked with preventing overcrowding along the trails. There will also be piles set up to signal 2-meter distances.

    The prefectural government will finalize the preventive measures around March 2021 after talking with the Yamanashi Prefectural Government and listening to the opinions of climbers.

    (Japanese original by Eiji Nagasawa, Fuji Local Bureau)

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