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Wednesday, 31st July 2013
In General Japan News,

New research may raise fears over Mt Fuji eruption

Mount Fuji has received a lot of press recently since it was granted World Heritage status by the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO in June.

Reports have suggested that there has been an increase in the number of Japanese visiting the peak since it acquired its new status. Indeed, Japanese travel agency JTB reported that some 76 million people would be travelling domestically between July 15th and August 31st, which represents a two per cent increase.

JTB said that Mt Fuji is a popular destination and hinted that this may be partly responsible for the increase in people travelling within Japan.

After the peak was recognised by the World Heritage Committee, a delegate to UNESCO, Isao Kiso, suggested that he, along with all Japanese people, was excited that the "outstanding universal value of this sacred and beautiful cultural property has been recognised and acknowledged by the World Heritage Committee".

It remains to be seen whether a new study by the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), which shows how many times the mountain has erupted, will deter visitors from the peak.

The report reveals that Mt Fuji has erupted spewing lava at least 43 times over the last 2,000 years.

Findings by the AIST based on geological surveys of the area spanning a 15-year period were shown to visitors at an international conference in Kagoshima at the end of July.

There was considerable concern surrounding the likelihood of Mt Fuji erupting in the wake of the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami.

As a result, the National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Prevention created mathematical models to assess the risk. They concluded that the pressure in the magma chamber was significant.

In January 2013, retired professor Masaki Kimura of Ryukyu University said that there were indications to suggest the mountain may erupt.

The p rofessor was quoted in Japan Today as saying: "Magma is rising from beneath Mt Fuji. Cracks in the crust have been growing. Some things hanging above have been falling. No one is pointing it out, but I think there is a possibility."

Written by  Graham McPherson


Related news stories:
Mt Fuji World Heritage registration is mixed blessing (26th June 2014)