Summer mountain climber rescue requests reach all-time high


National Police Agency statistics released Tuesday revealed that the number of mountain-climbing incidents this summer was the highest since records began in 1968.

According to the National Police Agency, the number of incidents occurring on mountains this year between July and August reached an all-time high of 552. Of those, the NPA noted that 36 people were reported dead or missing this summer, 25 less than last year, Sankei Shimbun reported.

The statistics also showed that around 70% of the incidents involved people aged 40 or over. Most of the reported incidents occurred on the Hotaka mountain range in Nagano and Gifu prefectures, which accounted for 43 people. The next highest was Mt Fuji, on which 42 people required rescue.

The NPA urged the public to make adequate preparations, consider their physical limits and make mountain-climbing plans appropriate to their individual level of skill and physical fitness in an attempt to minimize future emergencies. The agency also warned climbers not to underestimate weather conditions.

© Japan Today

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

Login to comment

I'm sure some of these people went into the mountains to commit suicide. Do something about this JGOV. Good thing they can rescue some.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Start charging people for their rescue. They could take out insurance in case they have to pay the bill. No reason why the public should have to continue to foot the bill for people who are taking their lives in their own hands. Scuba divers, race car drivers... all have special insurance. These guys should too.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

@titaniumdioxide: What makes you say that? Do you think people are going hiking in order to kill themselves, and then they change their minds and call for help because they can't get back down by themselves because...?

Isn't it just that people go hiking without being adequately prepared, as is written in the final paragraph?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Maria. Yes. I think the final paragraph says it all.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Maria. I only said "some" . What made me think, you say? I got carried away with the story There is a growing number of Japanese mountaineers climbing for a shocking intention.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Typo; it`s Hotaka, not Hokata!!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

And with the depressingly increase in elderly Japanese expected over the infinite future, this is just another shockingly morbid number expected to rise conversely...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

mts and national parks are great, more ppl should get out in them and enjoy them.

Rescue operations are free or charged to the rescuee according to the prefectural ordinances, as I understand it, s/t this article didn't really go into.

But those saying "make them pay!", well, it does take some planning and more than that experience, to go into the mts safely, but I say, let's pay for this together as a society (tho as I said, already decided by prefecture if free). It should be something for everyone, not something that ppl are afraid of doing because of insurance or something. Mts are dangerous because of both extreme weather and the extremely sudden changes in weather both of which can catch you off guard, but most of the reason ppl get hurt/ die is simply because of distance. Relatively "minor" problems that we take for granted in towns (an empty water bottle, a very cold wind) become big problems just because you are far from the ppl/ drs/ shelter etc. What I am saying is this is very valuable experience for living and understanding life and I wish more young ppl could have experiences in nature.

So let it be the state's preserve. Scuba diving and race cars are on another level, much more directly dangerous and fatal. Maybe winter climbers, ice climbers and cliff climbers would be on that level of danger.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Lowly, I'm actually willing to bet more climber/hikers die in a year than scuba divers. Drivers go through training, hikers/climbers do not. Huge difference here in knowledge. There is no reason why the public should continue to pay millions in rescue when taking out insurance should be done. You've just made comments that shows this isn't an easy "sport" for anyone to just pick up and do. More so if they aren't educated about it. This isn't a trail walk, this is a climber. Entrance to parks should be checking they have insurance. No? Pay on the spot like travel insurance.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

The Northern Alps (Hotaka) are not for beginners, although not all climbs are difficult. Mount Fuji, on the other hand attracts all kinds of people. Some of those unfit, inexperienced and ill-equipped "hilkers" are foreigners by the way. I've seen a few in my time.

3 ( +3 / -0 )


Some prefectures DO charge people who have been rescued. Where you aware of this when you posted?

Is everybody aware that lots of people get rescued for exactly the same reasons overseas too? Here in Australia, it's in the news constantly.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Some do, not all. I think they should all be charged. Indeed, it happens all over the place (The US rescued a few Japanese last year whom I believe only one survived and the public were stating that Japan should be paying for the cost - which I agree with) which is why I think those rescued should have to get insurance to pay for it - just like diving, just like flying... If you want to take the risk for enjoyment, go for it but have the insurance for it just in case. Kind of like wearing a helmet when you bike.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Agree with Lowly, some outdoor pursuits are more dangerous than others.

Certainly for "climbing" (vague) as opposed to "hiking' (vague), insurance might be a good idea. Actually, I think some clubs do have insurance.


You may be right when you say a lot of "hikers" need rescuing. But there's a hell of a lot of them, fortunately most stick to safe places and go in groups. (As I said before, places like Mount Fuji have a lot of people who don't have any real skill,knowledge or fitness - 3 things that may well save your life)

If you're sticking to trails, the mountains in Japan are not that bad for newbies as long as they show respect and know their limits

1 ( +1 / -0 )


First off "more climbers die"-- please talk in percents because I don't know that many ppl who scuba dive and they don't go often, but I know millions hike the mts that I hike on and they keep going back every week.

Second- high places yes, you should protect yourself with knowledge/ going a few times w/ somebody experienced to learn how. However these are in everyone's back yard are our common heritage and right, and easily accessible to anyone with two legs. Oceans, especially ones where you can see in AND its beautiful, are remote for most ppl. Going under and deep is unnatural for our bodies and requires training to do. And for other reasons, totally different category than climbing. But as I said, winter climbs and ice climbs and cliff-rope climbing could possibly be on a par. But even so, there is always oxygen.

I say keep our common heritage parks open and guarantee safety for free. Especially since they are easy to access for everyone, and also in fact used by lots of ppl. I did say previously it depends on the prefecture if you get free rescue or you pay. Further you should know a WHOLE LOT of ppl go hiking here, even the big mts. This means two things. First of which is they are often tourists from out of town buying omiyage and staying at hotels and using transport near the mt. The locals are living off that tourist industry and paying taxes which offset any rescues. Furthermore there are actually private mountain huts all thru out the mts that many ppl stay at-further revenue. A whole industry is supporting any rescue needs. But the other thing that those numbers means is that quite a lot of rescues, perhaps the vast majority, are carried out by other hikers and the mt hut (private) staff. The stuff you hear about on TV is very often coordinated with unpaid volunteers searching/ finding ppl in trouble.

Please learn more about the mts because I really think you will come to love them. But for this taxes thing, you should especially learn about the actual NUMBERS of ppl which is huge, and the difference between the words "hike" and "climb" which in daily use are vague but denote very different activities.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Lowly, you were the one that stated much more directly dangerous and fatal and I'm just disagreeing with it.

You can't guarantee safety - that's the issue. This is why people have heath care and insurance. Why should hikers be any different when it comes to their sport when they need to be rescued? Why should tax payers have to shell out millions of dollars every year for this? Insurance would stop that.

I don't actually think I need to know more - and you don't actually know how much or how little I know. Rather presumptuous of you to suggest you do.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

just trying to point out as a society, mountains/woods right next to where you live are not only accessible to any one w/ two legs, they will naturally go in and out of them regularly, including children, elderly, and inexperienced, so it's really not just "those ppl", it is anyone and everyone at one time or another. as a society/ gov that is a big responsibility you have for you citizens to maintain trails and safety (crimes occur there too of course). really it makes sense to make allowances for that and pay the rescue insurance as a group.

and the point that scuba diving etc is just not accessible to average ppl in the same way, less of a worry, and really the lack of oxygen there makes it another show entirely.

Not meaning to be presumptuous, just the fact that you keep saying "those ppl" infers that mts are not a part of your normal routine, and you don't seem to know or imagine just how common it is for so many ppl in the society. Making it a shared responsibility in my mind.

Anyway it is by prefecture right now, so if you are living in a prefecture that charges ppl who get rescued, go ahead and celebrate if you want.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites