FUKUSHIMA – Local authorities on Saturday removed a climbing ban on Mount Bandai in Fukushima Prefecture, as concerns about its impact on the local tourism industry overrode the danger of a small eruption.
The mayors of the towns of Inawashiro and Bandai and the village of Kitashiobara told a joint press conference that climbers do not face any immediate danger, as volcanic activity has subsided.
“Continued regulations would increase psychological pressure on local residents. At present, we have taken measures to provide security for climbers,” said Inawashiro Mayor Motoo Tsugane.
The announcement was made more than a month after climbing restrictions were imposed on the 1,891-meter volcano Aug. 18.
Local officials said they will install signs appealing for caution at seven trail-entry points and distribute pamphlets detailing cellular phone areas around the mountain and listing phone numbers for local police and governments.
The local observatory has warned that volcanic activity at the mountain has not yet finished.
On Aug. 16, the Meteorological Agency warned that Mount Bandai could soon erupt, the first such warning since it started monitoring the volcano in 1965.
The warning has led to a rush of cancellations at local hotels and inns, dealing a blow to the local tourism industry.
Mount Bandai and nearby areas are well-known tourist spots.
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