As Japan waits to hear in June the fate of its bid to win World Heritage status for iconic Mount Fuji, Shizuoka Prefecture, Yamanashi Prefecture and the central government are jointly trying to come up with a new guideline to increase safety that may include measures to make the mountain off-limits to hikers except during summer.

The mountain has seen a rising death toll over the years, with 11 hikers confirmed killed last year. The figure compares with seven deaths in 2005. Meanwhile, searches were launched for 76 hikers reported missing in 2012 compared with 30 seven years earlier.

The worsening toll is attributed partly to the recent emergence of more female climbers, nicknamed by the local media as "yama girls," which literally means mountain girls.