Mount Fuji to be closed to climbers this summer due to virus

Mount Fuji is seen from a plane on Nov 24, 2019. (Reuters photo)

SHIZUOKA, Japan: Mount Fuji will be closed to climbers this summer to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The Shizuoka prefecture, which manages three of the four major routes to Japan's highest peak, announced on 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.

Yamanashi, another central Japan prefecture, has already made a similar announcement for the fourth route to the peak of the 3,776-meter-volcanic mountain. Its Yoshida track is the most popular, with 60% of climbers using it.

It is the first time since 1960 that all four routes will be closed during the climbing season, according the prefectures.

The cabins that are dotted along the routes to be used by resting climbers 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.