• Kyodo


Four climbers who were reported missing this week on snowy Mount Asahidake, the highest peak in Hokkaido, were taken to a hospital Thursday without any life-threatening injuries, police said.

A rescue helicopter winched the four — two Japanese and two foreigners — to safety earlier in the day. They were found alive on Wednesday after being reported missing the previous day.

The two Japanese — 71-year-old Masahiko Kato from Yokohama and his 65-year-old wife, Yumiko — met the 27-year-old Malaysian man and 28-year-old Singaporean woman while climbing the mountain, the police said.

On Tuesday night, Kato called police saying the four had lost their way while descending the 2,291-meter peak. The Singaporean woman called the police on Wednesday morning saying all four were safe, but the police were subsequently unable to contact them.

The climbers spent the night on the mountain before rescue workers found them on Wednesday afternoon by tracking footprints. The temperature was minus 6 degrees near where they were found as of 3 p.m. Wednesday, with 12 cm of snow accumulation.

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