Lawson considering adding private security staff to unexpected tourist attraction.

The most recently popularized Mt. Fuji viewing spot is also one of the most unexpected: the parking lot of a convenience store in the town of Fujikawaguchiko, Yamanashi Prefecture. With a population of less than 30,000, Fujikawaguchiko doesn’t have many tall buildings, and travelers and photography fans have taken notice of the photogenic way that Mt. Fuji visually pops up from behind a local branch of the Lawson convenience store chain.

However, despite the tourist-attracting view, this location wasn’t designed as a tourist attraction. In order to get the best viewing angle, large crowds coming to see and snap photos have been congregating across the street from the Lawson, in the private-property space in front of a dentist’s office. Add in tourists jaywalking back and forth across the street, increased littering, and second-hand smoke, and the sudden tourist presence has become a problem for the town and its residents.

In response, at the end of April the decision was made to install opaque black screens between the dentist’s office and road, in order to block the view of Mt. Fuji. Now, Lawson itself has issued a statement regarding the situation, posted to its official website on Sunday, which reads:

Thank you for your continued patronage of Lawson.

We wish to deeply apologize to the local residents, store customers, and the many other people who have been inconvenienced and troubled by the Lawson Fujikawaguchiko-ekimae and Fujikawaguchiko-Yakubamae branches becoming popular Mt. Fuji photography spots.

In the interest of strengthening safety measures, we have already dispatched staff from Lawson headquarters to the Fujikawaguchiko-ekimae branch, and as of [May 4] we have put up signs, in multiple languages, stating that crossing the street in front of the store is prohibited.

We are also planning to install multilingual etiquette warning signs stating that it is dangerous to take photos while standing in the parking lot or road, and that littering is prohibited, as soon as possible.

In the interest of preventing accidents, after consulting with the local police department and government, we are also considering posting private security staff at the site.

We are planning to install similar signs at Lawson Fujikawaguchiko-Yakubamae as well.

We will be continuing to consult and coordinate with local authorities and police in order to take measures to maintain the living environment of local residents and safety of our customers.

Thank you for your understanding.

As the most iconic symbol of Japan, Mt. Fuji is always going to attract attention, and the mountain’s size means that it’s viewable from countless locations in the surrounding regions. Depending on the angle it’s viewed from and the surrounding scenery, the mountain can take on different atmospheres, especially when it’s paired with features that artistically frame it or incorporate some other aspect of life in Japan. As such, it’s likely only a matter of time before somewhere else becomes the next trendy spot to take photos of Mt. Fuji from, but hopefully when that happens those coming to take the photos will be a little more considerate of the people who have been living in the community since before its 15 minutes of Fuji fame.

Source: Lawson via IT Media
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