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Entry restriction to be lifted for summit of Japan's Mount Ontake, site of deadly 2014 eruption

JIJI

The entry restriction for a hiking route leading to the top of Mount Ontake, the site of a deadly volcanic eruption nearly four years ago, will be lifted Wednesday, the Kiso Municipal Government said.

The removal of the restriction will give hikers access to the top of the 3,067-meter mountain that straddles Nagano and Gifu prefectures for the first time since the Sept. 27, 2014, eruption, the town of Kiso said Friday. The route will be accessible until Oct. 8.

The town’s government has taken steps to ensure the safety of hikers, including by building three concrete shelters below the mountaintop that are each able to house about 30 people.

Family members of the victims of the eruption are scheduled to make a memorial hike up the mountain on Wednesday.

Access to the mountaintop via other routes passing the Gifu city of Gero and the Nagano village of Otaki will remain closed. Both municipalities plan to continue their entry restrictions on a 1-km area around the crater due to a lack of safety measures.

The eruption killed 58 people and left five others missing.

In August last year, the Meteorological Agency lowered its volcanic alert level for the mountain from 2, which restricts approaches to the crater, to 1. A level 1 alert means that people should keep in mind that the mountain is an active volcano.