Japan volcano: People evacuating after Sakurajima erupts

The Sakurajima volcano has been blasting rock into the sky that has landed 1.5 miles away (Picture: AP)

Japan’s Prime Minister has ordered officials to take action to save lives after a volcanic eruption on the country’s major western island of Kyushu.

Evacuations look set to get underway, with the eruption alert level being raised to the country’s highest level of 5.

There were reports of stones being spewed out of Sakurajima volcano and coming down to earth 2.5 km (1.5 miles) away, NHK public television said.

The volcano is one of Japan’s most active and eruptions of varying levels take place on a regular basis. In 2019, it spewed ash 5.5 km (3.4 miles) high.

Video footage from today’s eruption showed what appeared to be a red mass flowing down one side of the volcano, with red projectiles shooting out as smoke billowed into the night sky.

The eruption happened at around 8.05pm (12.05pm British time), the Japanese Meteorological Agency (JMA) said.

It added that about 120 residents in two towns were advised to prepare for a possible evacuation.

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FILE PHOTO: An aerial view shows Mt. Sakurajima in Kagoshima, southwestern Japan, in this photo taken by Kyodo August 15, 2015. Japan warned on Saturday that the volcano, 50 km (31 miles) from a just-restarted nuclear reactor, is showing signs of increased activity, and said nearby residents should prepare to evacuate. Sakurajima, a mountain on the southern island of Kyushu, is one of Japan's most active volcanoes and erupts almost constantly. But a larger than usual eruption could be in the offing, an official at the Japan Meteorological Agency said. Mandatory credit REUTERS/Kyodo ATTENTION EDITORS - FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. MANDATORY CREDIT. JAPAN OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN JAPAN./File Photo

An aerial file photo of Mount Sakurajima, one of Japan’s most active volcanoes (Picture: Reuters)

The agency warned of falling volcanic rock in areas within 3 kilometers (1.8 miles) of the crater, as well possible lava and ash flows and searing gas within 2 kilometers (1.2 miles).

There have been no immediate reports of damage and two hours after the eruption, a government spokesperson said they had not heard of any damage either.

Most of the city of Kagoshima is across the bay from the volcano but several residential areas are within about 3 km (1.9 miles) of the crater – and NHK said they may be ordered to evacuate.


Boris hurls a grenade and tries out rocket launcher on visit to Army base

Boris hurls a grenade and tries out rocket launcher on visit to Army base

Japan’s nuclear regulators said on Sunday that no irregularities had been detected at the Sendai nuclear power plant, which is located some 50 km (31 miles) northwest of Sakurajima.

Officials at Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s office are said to be gathering information about the situation as it develops.

The mountain used to be an island but became a peninsula following an eruption in 1914.

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at webnews@metro.co.uk.

For more stories like this, check our news page.


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