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26 dead, 3 missing, 54 injured during mountain climbing in Golden Week

21 Comments

The National Police Agency (NPA) says that there were 26 deaths, three missing climbers and 54 injuries among mountain climbers during Golden Week (April 29 to May 9).

According to the NPA report released Tuesday, a total of 157 mountain-related incidents were reported nationwide. The number included 191 people in distress, 87 of whom were over the age of 60. 

Moreover, deaths and disappearances occurred in 13 prefectures. On Mt Yarigatake in the Northern Alps that straddle Nagano and Gifu prefectures, three men went missing on May 3. The following day, all three were found dead.

A total of 1,150 rescue workers were deployed by the police nationwide during the 10 days, the NPA report said. Helicopters were also dispatched 48 times for search and rescue operations.

A spokesperson for the NPA urged the public to be sensible regarding their physical condition when selecting mountains to climb and plan a safe itinerary.

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21 Comments
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Those seem like pretty high numbers.

13 ( +13 / -0 )

I am a mountaineer of sorts and I did not go this year due to the pandemic. What is causing people to go out and risk being killed after holding up at home for so long? Its risky to go mountain hiking if you have not been doing so as training is very important.

14 ( +14 / -0 )

Age seems to be a big factor with these deaths. I wonder if some of the deaths and disappearances were deliberate!

2 ( +7 / -5 )

It snowed during golden week too, so poor conditions for climbing.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

If you have a heart attack or stroke in one of these inaccessible mountain ranges, the chances of anyone quickly getting to you with a defib unit or other emergency medical kit are extremely low. Anyone over 55 contemplating some heavy hiking deep in the woods should make sure they are in good shape first.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

“Go mountain climbing!” they said. “It’ll be fun.” they said.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

The Yarigatake area is not for amateur mountaineers or day hikers. During April and May avalanches and bear sightings are very common, and snowfall is not at all unusual. Water freezes. It would take a very fit 60 year old to carry the gear needed for a 3-4 day stay in that area.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

""A spokesperson for the NPA urged the public to be sensible regarding their physical condition when selecting mountains to climb and plan a safe itinerary.""

The rule should be, if you ignore the local authorities warning and advise, then you are on your OWN.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

What was last few years numbers? No point without comparing trends.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

“Go mountain climbing!” they said. “It’ll be fun.” they said.

"No", I said. "It's pointless, and not worth injuring myself.", I said.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Back in NZ something like 80 percent of foreign nationals lost when out tramping are Japanese. They are a tiny percent of trampers too.

Hiking here is normally walking tracks with clearly cut paths, hand rails/pull ropes everywhere, cut steps. Set up in a way that you can go with 0 skill and minimal prep. I've had people astonished I carry topo maps with me. Carrying basic nav kit here is pretty much unheard of. PLBs, never seen one.

Unfortunately they're kind of set up to fail here. If you get off track with no skills, prepared for a day walk, you're cooked. It's another symptom of the cotton wool micro management prevalent here in Japan; when the step by sub step micro instructions aren't there the wheels fall off.

Sad for the families. In a country so prone to natural disasters I'd hope they'd respect nature more.

10 ( +12 / -2 )

I had a trip to Arizona once and had time off so stopped at a local state park for an easy 1 hour trail hike for exercise. Within a few minutes saw a rattlesnake slithering nearby and turned around back to the hotel for beer and chicken wings. Respect nature.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Isn't there some respect for people who die doing something they like?

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

Isn't there some respect for people who die doing something they like?

Not when ‘doing something they like’ involves dragging in over a thousand rescue workers, police and helicopters to try and save their sorry skins.

All paid for by…?

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Seem like a unusually high number, would this be related to people too enthusiastic about going outside? people taking new hobbies without the proper caution? changes in the climate? More information would be very useful to prevent it from happening in the future.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

It should be compulsory for Mountaineers to take out accident insurance, it the publuc purse that pays for all the resouces in rescuing them.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I checked in with my Taiwanese coworker who went into the Nagano/Gifu mountains for five days during GW, when I first read that two police officers died whilst hiking in the mountains. I was so happy she made it back. And now when I read this article I am even more happy.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I was shocked to read the article. Very bad news.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Michael Machida

 I did not go this year due to the pandemic. What is causing people to go out and risk being killed after holding up at home for so long?

I think more and more people are choosing life over irrational fear... Most of the collective fear is likely a direct result of being "holding up at home" for way too long. Out of action... Not being human... Prey posture and behavior.

Science says: "transmission is minimal outside."

Keep that in mind and have a pleasant day

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Did they find the missing 3 ? and what were their ages ? Yet the NPA disclose the ages of 87 being of 60 years old or older who were in distress. Talk be ageism. I seen very unfit people of all ages taking on the Japanese Alp. How many hikers who needed assitance due to distress were unfit and what were their ages?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I lived in a Japanese coastal community quite a distance north of the greater Tokyo area where tourists came in the summer to enjoy the water and the number of drownings every year was astoundingly high. And just west of our town were mountain trails where fatalities were quite common. What was not common was sense, a sense of the outdoors and its dangers.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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