• Jiji

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The number of people who got lost in mountains in Japan in 2019 stood at 2,937, with elderly people accounting for more than half of them, data from the National Police Agency (NPA) showed Thursday.

Of the total, 299 were confirmed dead or missing. The number of people getting lost in mountains had been on an uptrend through the previous 10 years, but the figure for 2019 was down by 192 from the preceding year.

“Appropriate plans and full equipment are necessary to preventing accidents in mountains,” an NPA official said.

Of the 2019 total, 1,488 people were aged 60 or over, with 668 in their 70s and 640 in their 60s.

By prefecture, Nagano saw the highest number of people getting stranded in mountains at 290, followed by Hokkaido at 232, Yamanashi at 185 and Hyogo at 168.

Climbers made up of 75 percent of the people lost in mountains while about 12 percent were there foraging for vegetables and mushrooms.

Foreign nationals accounted for 103 of the total, with over 50 percent of them getting lost during backcountry skiing or snowboarding in mountains not overseen by ski resort operators.

The NPA also said that 1,538 people were involved in water accidents last year, in which 695 lost their lives or went missing.

Among the dead and missing, 30 were children of junior high school age or younger, with 15 of them succumbing in rivers and nine in the sea.

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