Japan's Mount Aso erupts, alert level raised

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Video grab from the Japan Meteorological Agency's live camera image shows an eruption of Mount Asama, central Japan
1 / 5Japan’s Mount Aso erupts, alert level raisedVideo grab from the Japan Meteorological Agency’s live camera image shows an eruption of Mount Asama, central Japan

TOKYO (Reuters) – Mount Aso, a volcano on Japan's main southern island of Kyushu, erupted on Wednesday, Japan's Meteorological Agency said, spewing volcanic ash 3,500 metres (2.17 miles) into the sky.

The eruption took place at around 11:43 a.m. Tokyo time (0243 GMT), the agency said.

There were no immediae reports of casualties or major damage at the popular tourist destination.

But, the meteorological agency raised the alert level for the volcano to level 3 on a scale of 5, telling people not to approach the mountain. It also warned of large volcanic blocks and pyroclastic flows scatterering within a range of approximately 1 kilometre from the mountain's Nakadake crater.

Ash falls from one of the peaks of the 1,592-metre (5,222 feet) mountain in Kumamoto Prefecture will be detected in nearby towns until late afternoon on Wednesday, according to the agency.

There was a small eruption at Mount Aso in 2019, and 63 people were killed on Mount Ontake in September 2014, which was the worst volcanic disaster in Japan for nearly 90 years.

(Reporting by Ju-min Park; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

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