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Weather station on Mt. Fuji closes

TOKYO, Sept. 30 (UPI) -- The manned weather station atop Mt. Fuji closed Thursday after 72 years of monitoring Japan's weather conditions, replaced by an automatic observation system.

The observatory of the Meteorological Agency was located at Japan's highest point, at 12,390 feet above sea level. Observers have been posted there to monitor the weather and record data since 1932.

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The observatory's radar system was the main means of detecting upcoming typhoons and heavy rains until it was superceded by weather satellites in 1999. Observers endured the cold snows of winter and lightning storms of summer; over the years, four died in the line of duty.

The last four observers will wait until Typhoon No. 21 passes and are planning to go down the mountain Friday, the Yomiuri Shimbun reported Thursday.

The observatory will now have automatic observation equipment, requiring inspection only once a year, capable of reading weather conditions and recording data under the most severe conditions.

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