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Japan's Mt. Fuji granted UNESCO World Heritage status

Jiji Press / AFP - Getty Images file

This picture taken on May 13, 2013 shows snow capped Mt. Fuji, seen from Kawaguchiko town in Yamanashi prefecture. Japan's Mount Fuji, known for its perfectly cone-shaped volcano, was granted World Heritage status, UNESCO said on June 22, 2013.

The iconic Japanese Mount Fuji was officially recognized as a World Heritage Site at the annual UNESCO conference being held in Cambodia, a designation which some in Japan have worked toward for almost a decade.

Japan considered registering the nation's highest mountain back in 2003, but because of relentless problems with garbage dumping, the government gave up the nomination as a natural heritage site and instead submitted a proposal last year to be considered a cultural heritage site.

Residents of Yamanashi and Shizuoka prefectures, both of which share the mountain, celebrated the news at their respective city halls, but some have raised concerns about the additional influx of tourists to the mountain, which already hosts up to 300,000 visitors a year.

To combat the expected increase in visitors, a $10 dollar entry fee will be charged to those climbers aiming for the summit starting this summer during peak season. The money will be used for various environmental protection measures.

For now, local residents will be celebrating with fireworks and will be getting ready for when the mountain officially opens for the summer, starting July 1st.

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