TOKYO — A volcano on Japan’s southern main island of Kyushu erupted on Sunday evening, spewing ash and rocks. No damage or injuries were immediately reported in nearby towns, but residents were told to evacuate.
The Japan Meteorological Agency said the Sakurajima volcano erupted around 8:05 p.m., blowing large boulders up to 2.5 kilometers (1.5 miles) into the southern prefecture of Kagoshima.
Footage from Japanese public television NHK showed flashing orange flames near the crater and black ash smoke billowing from the mountaintop into the night sky.
“We will put people’s lives first and do everything we can to assess the situation and respond to any emergencies,” Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihiko Isozaki told reporters. He called on people in the area to pay close attention to the latest update from local authorities to protect their lives.
The agency said it raised the eruption alert to the highest level of five and about 120 residents of two towns facing the volcano have been asked to leave their homes.
The agency warned of volcanic rock falling in areas within 3 kilometers (1.8 miles) of the crater and possible flow of lava, ash and burning gas within 2 kilometers (1.8 miles). 2 miles).
Sakurajima, about 1,000 kilometers (600 miles) southwest of Tokyo, is one of Japan’s most active volcanoes and has erupted several times. Once an island, it became a peninsula following an eruption in 1914.