• The Associated Press


The Meteorological Agency is looking for tenants to rent a vacant weather monitoring station at the summit of Mount Fuji, according to an agency official.

Until September, the agency had four scientists stationed atop the 3,776-meter volcano year-round. But the work those researchers did — measuring the temperature, air pressure and humidity — can now be done remotely, and three of the station’s buildings stand empty.

The buildings, altogether about 570 sq. meters, would be ideal for scientists studying altitude sickness or for astronomers peering at the stars, said Naoyuki Hasegawa, a planning official at the agency.

But the agency has had difficulty finding anyone able to assume the maintenance tasks of the station, including taking care of the electrical lines that run to the top of the mountain.

“Some researchers have shown interest in the high-altitude research but they have been unable to take on the responsibility of maintaining the facility,” Hasegawa said. “We can’t provide a living space for people, so we have to ask that the users maintain the facility themselves.”

The agency hasn’t decided how much it will charge to lease the buildings, Hasegawa said.

The agency began monitoring weather atop the mountain, one of 20 active volcanoes in Japan, in 1932.

Experts say Mount Fuji is at moderate risk of erupting. It has erupted at least 16 times since 781, most recently in 1707, when it sprinkled ash on Tokyo about 100 km away.

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