Four climbers dead, two missing on Japan mountains

Four climbers died over the weekend and two others are missing on mountains including Mount Fuji in central Japan, police and news reports said Monday.

Police said that on Sunday they found the body of a 56-year-old woman who had been missing since an avalanche hit a group of climbers on Mount Shirouma in Nagano prefecture the previous day.

"We have continued searching for two male climbers who were feared to be involved in the same avalanche," said a spokesman for the Nagano Police Department.

The department also found the bodies of two men in their 50s on Sunday while they were climbing elsewhere, local media reported.

Police in Yamanashi prefecture said the body of a 53-year-old man was found on Mount Fuji on Sunday and news reports said he appeared to have suffered a severe fall.

Following the start of this year's mountaineering season, police in central Japan are warning climbers against avalanches or other snow-related accidents in the region, where heavy snow still covers major mountains.