• Kyodo

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Mount Fuji will be closed to climbers this summer in a measure aimed at preventing the spread of coronavirus.

Shizuoka Prefecture, which manages three of the four major routes to Japan’s highest peak, announced Monday it will not open any of the paths for the official climbing season this year.

Normally, hordes of climbers make their way to the summit of the mountain between July 10 and Sept. 10 each year and the prefecture judged there would be risks of climbers getting infected on the paths or the cabins where they rest.

Yamanashi Prefecture, which also offers access to the iconic mountain, already made a similar announcement regarding the fourth route to the peak of the 3,776-meter volcano. Its Yoshida track is the most popular, with 60 percent of climbers using it.

It is the first time since at least 1960, when the Shizuoka Prefectural Government began managing the three routes, that all four routes will be closed during the climbing season, according to the prefectures.

The cabins that are dotted along the routes that are usually used by climbers to rest will also remain closed.

The mountain, a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site, attracted about 236,000 climbers for last year’s season, according to the Environment Ministry. About 85,000 of those used the routes managed by Shizuoka, the prefectural government said.

Shizuoka is also planning to keep three prefectural roads leading to the fifth station of the mountain closed. An association of cabins has been requesting that the prefectural government do so, saying cabins won’t be open to keep watch over climbers.

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