Speed Reading — Over-tourism - Level 6 — 200 wpm

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Japan's Mt. Fuji's UNESCO World Heritage status is under threat due to over-tourism. The iconic peak was listed as a world heritage site in 2013. However, a spike in the number of tourists scaling the majestic mountain is threatening that listing. Japan is experiencing a post-covid tourist boom, and many visitors are making a beeline for Fuji-san's climbing trails. Mt. Fuji is so sacred in Japan that many Japanese hope to climb it at least once in their lives. The burgeoning number of climbers is causing environmental damage on the slopes. Litter is strewn across the volcanic ash, and large parking lots have been constructed to accommodate tourists. These are an eyesore on the mountain's once-pristine habitat.

A local official told reporters that: "Fuji faces a real crisis. Tourism has become uncontrollable, and we fear that Mt. Fuji will soon become so unattractive, nobody would want to climb it." He added: "Fuji-san is screaming in pain. We can't just wait for improvement; we need to tackle over-tourism now." The mountain's fifth base station has seen a 50 per cent jump in visitors since 2013, with about four million visitors this summer. Another headache for local authorities is "bullet climbers". These are people who attempt to ascend and descend Fuji in 24 hours. They risk getting altitude sickness and hypothermia. The official climbing season ended on Sunday, giving Fuji a respite from further damage.

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