The Meteorological Agency pulled out its last employees from the weather station atop Mount Fuji on Friday, automating the facility that had been regularly staffed since 1932.

The automation of the facility on the 3,776-meter peak will eliminate the risk and hardship faced by the people stationed there. Since its opening, four people assigned to the station have died while on duty.

“I find it hard to leave. But at the same time, I am relieved that our staff will not have to endure harsh work atop the mountain,” said Kesao Takizawa, head of the monitoring station.

Takizawa said the automation of the station is a milestone in the history of the weather agency.

Visual weather observations ended at the facility in late August. Automatic systems have been put in place to monitor temperature, atmospheric pressure and other phenomena.

The station once played an important role in tracking typhoons approaching the Japanese archipelago from the Pacific through a weather monitoring radar installed in 1965. The radar was decommissioned in 1999 after being superseded by weather satellites.

The staff, numbering around eight, had planned to leave Mount Fuji on Thursday, but delayed the departure until Friday because of Typhoon Meari.

From now on, the agency will send employees to take care of the station in July and August, when climbers crowd the mountain.

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