3 missing in stormy conditions in northern Japan alps
Sunday 03rd January, 07:00 AM JST
Three climbers heading for 3,190-meter Mt. Okuhotakadake straddling Gifu and Nagano prefectures in the northern Japan alps are feared to be missing, police said Saturday. Due to stormy conditions, Gifu police have suspended rescue operations for the day and plan to start searching for the three on Sunday or later once the weather improves, they said.
According to police, the three are Mitsuru Honjyo, 59, Mikio Zenitani, 52, and Aiko Irie, 58. All three are residents of Kobe, Hyogo Prefecture.
The three climbers arrived in the alps on Tuesday and were scheduled to descend Thursday after climbing Japan’s third-highest peak, according to the police.
A local alpine club in Kobe said it had lost contact with the three climbers.
Local meteorological agencies said snowfall and gusts have continued for several days in the alps with poor visibility at high altitude due to blizzards.
Meanwhile, a married couple from the city of Shizuoka climbing in the southern alps asked for help Saturday afternoon, Shizuoka prefectural police said.
Yoshitaka Kakegawa, 44, is believed to have suffered minor frostbite and his wife Hiroyo, 45, cannot move due to exhaustion, police said, adding they will search for the couple from Sunday morning.
A corporate worker from Saitama Prefecture who was part of the climbing party descended to the Nagano Prefecture side safely on Saturday, the police said.
Source: Japan Today