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Sakurajima volcano erupts in Japan

The Sakurajima volcano located on the western Japanese island of Kyushu erupted on Sunday evening, sending black smoke billowing high into the air. There were no immediate reports of any damage or injuries, and authorities said they did not expect a major eruption, although people living closest to the fire-spewing mountain were advised to evacuate.

The volcano is located on the southern tip of Kyushu, Japan’s third-largest island, near the city of Kagoshima, it erupted at about 8:05 pm local time (12:05 CEST) according to the Japanese Meteorological Agency (JMA) said.

Sakurajima is one of Japan’s most active volcanoes. Eruptions of varying levels take place on a regular basis.

According to a JMA official, volcanic rocks rained down at a distance of 2.5 km from the volcano. The eruption alert level has been raised to 5, the highest, with some areas advised to evacuate, although no large eruption was expected.

Most of the city of Kagoshima is across the bay from the volcano but several residential areas within about 3 km from the crater. 51 people in the immediate vicinity of Sakurajima were being evacuated.

Deputy chief cabinet secretary Yoshihiko Isozaki told a news conference there were no immediate reports of damage from Sunday’s eruption. Sendai Nuclear Power Plant lies about 50 km to the north of the volcano, but the Japanese nuclear regulators said there were no irregularities detected in the operation of the plant.

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