Volcano erupts on southern Japanese island

Tokyo, May 29, AZERTAC

A volcano on a small Japanese island erupted violently Friday morning, sending smoke and ash 9,000 meters into the air, the Japan Meteorological Agency said, raising its volcano alert to the highest level and telling the island’s 137 residents to leave.

An “explosive eruption” from Mount Shindake was observed just before 10 a.m. local time on Kuchinoerabu island in Kagoshima prefecture, southern Japan, the agency said. The island is located about 1,600 kilometers southwest Tokyo, and the city of Kagoshima, with a population of about 600,000, is about 200 kilometers north of the island.

A stream of volcanic ash had reached the coastline two kilometers from the island, the agency said.

The level 5 warning was the first issued by the agency since December 2007, when the volcanic alert system was introduced, the meteorological agency official said. The agency already had a level 3 warning in place for the volcano, prohibiting people from approaching it.

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