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A 10-day trial scheme to collect a 1,000-yen entrance fee from those climbing Mount Fuji, Japan’s highest mountain, was introduced on Thursday.
The entrance fee is charged on four routes leading to the summit of the 3,776-meter mountain, which straddles Shizuoka and Yamanashi Prefectures. Payment is voluntary.
Over the 10-day period, officials from the Shizuoka and Yamanashi prefectural governments will be stationed on the four routes between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. to collect the fee. The four are the Fujinomiyaguchi, Subashiriguchi and Gotenbaguchi routes that start in Shizuoka and the Yoshidaguchi route starting in Yamanashi.
Those who pay the fee will receive a certificate and a badge. The money will go toward protecting the mountain, which was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in June, and for safety measures such as repairs of the routes.
Climbers will be asked whether they approve of the entrance fee and whether they think 1,000 yen is appropriate. By considering the opinions of climbers, the two prefectures are aiming to officially launch the scheme in summer 2014.
When Toshitsugu Fujii became head of a Japanese task force on disaster response at Mount Fuji, he was confronted with a startling oversight. Japan had no plan in place to deal with a disaster in which an earthquake sparks a volcanic eruption at the country’s most famous landmark.
Fujii said a tremor “greatly increases” the chance of an eruption in a country that has experienced nearly 12,000 earthquakes since the magnitude 9.0 tremor that led to disaster on March 11, 2011.
Panasonic will broadcast live a solar eclipse next month over Japan from the top of Mount Fuji, using batteries that are charged at the base using solar power and then carried up to the peak.S
The company will use the event to create publicity for its solar panels and rechargeable portable power units. Panasonic said all video cameras, PCs, and other equipment used for the broadcast will be powered by solar energy. The team will consist of mountain guides and engineers, as well as some participants chosen from the general public.
A rare solar eclipse, in which the moon passes between the earth and the sun, is to take place over Japan on the morning of May 21. The event will be visible from a large swath of the country, including Tokyo, and later from parts of the U.S., including California, Nevada and Arizona.
Panasonic has created a web site to promote the project, as well as the YouTube video below.
The Japanese government is considering recommending UNESCO approve Mt. Fuji and Kanagawa Prefecture’s Kamakura as World Heritage cultural sites, officials said Tuesday.
A special team of the Council for Cultural Affairs will soon start its screening to decide whether to recommend the two sites as cultural heritages to the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, they said.
If the team endorses the recommendation, the government will submit a preliminary written recommendation to UNESCO by the end of September and a final recommendation by the end of next January.
Forget the ice ax and $500 climbing boots. The mode du jour for today’s mountain hikers in Japan is the miniskirt and leggings.North Face, maker of the Gore-Tex waterproof jacket, and Alpine Tour Service Co. are targeting “yama girls,” or mountain girls, the nickname of the growing number of women who are taking to the hills of Japan wearing short pants or fleece skirts with leggings and designer trekking boots.“I want to wear something cute like a skirt,” said Machiko Miyauchi, 25, who made her first ascent of Mount Fuji, Japan’s highest peak, earlier this year after buying new equipment and shoes. “Climbing is healing. You can breathe fresh, clean air.”Visitors to Mount Fuji in the two months ended Aug. 31, the busiest climbing season, were the most since the government began tracking traffic using infrared sensors in 2005. The number of women applying for Alpine’s treks jumped sixfold from last year, prompting the Tokyo-based company to increase women- only tours to 13 this year from six in 2009, spokesman Yasushi Kodama said.