Temporary shelters for search parties were set up Saturday morning near the summit of Mt. Ontake, which erupted in September last year, leaving 57 people dead and six others missing.
Nagano and Gifu prefectures established four shelters near the summit of the 3,067-meter volcano, which straddles the border between the two prefectures. The search for victims is scheduled to resume on Wednesday.
Twenty to 25 people can take refuge in each semicylindrical shelter made of steel plates about three centimeters thick. Each shelter is 2 meters wide, 1.8 meters tall and 4 meters long.
The shelters will not collapse even if a volcanic rock with a diameter of about 10 centimeters directly hits one at 300 kilometers an hour, according to authorities. They were built in Ichinoike, a north-side hollow near the crater.
About 50 people from the prefectural police and local fire stations in both prefectures set up the shelters. A Self-Defence Forces CH-47 helicopter carried the materials and the personnel, who built the shelters in about one hour and 40 minutes.