Volcanic mountains

Watch | Volcanic eruption in southern Japan triggers evacuation alert

Following a violent volcanic explosion in southern Japan on Sunday, the national weather agency issued its highest advisory for the mountain, urging dozens of residents to leave their homes. Sakurajima on Kagoshima erupted shortly after 8 p.m., and television cameras captured lava and thick ash plumes erupting from it (1100 GMT). The volcano, which is a popular tourist destination, frequently belches smoke and ash. Large ash was thrown from Sunday’s explosion about 2.5 kilometers (1.5 miles) from the crater, according to a statement from the Japan Meteorological Agency.

Sakurajima is now on Level Five Alert, which is the highest level and calls for evacuations. It was at level three before the eruption, which prohibits access to the peak. The JMA advised residents of the towns of Arimura and Furusato who live within two miles of Sakurajima’s summit crater to exercise extreme caution.

In the two cities, there are 77 people, according to the city of Kagoshima. NHK, a public station, says no damage was reported at first.

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Japan is home to many active volcanoes and is located on the Pacific “Ring of Fire”, where the majority of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions in the world are reported. Sakurajima was once an island but has now been connected to a peninsula following earlier eruptions. When Kuchinoerabu Island, also in Kagoshima, erupted in 2015, Japan last issued the highest evacuation advisory for a volcano.

(with contributions from agencies)