Sakurajima volcano in Japan erupts, inducing evacuation

Tokyo — A volcano on a major Kyushu island south of Japan erupted on Sunday night, spewing ashes and rocks. There were no immediate reports of damage or injury in nearby towns, but residents were advised to evacuate.

According to the Japan Meteorological Agency, Sakurajima volcano erupted at about 8:05 pm, blowing off a large rock 2.5 kilometers (1.5 miles) away in southern Kagoshima prefecture.

An image of NHK public television in Japan showed an orange flame flashing near the crater and dark smoke of ashes swirling from the summit to the night sky.

Deputy Prime Minister Isozaki told reporters, “We will put the lives of the people first, understand the situation, and do our best to respond to emergencies.” He called on local residents to pay close attention to the latest updates from local governments to save their lives.

Sakurajima volcano eruption
Sakurajima volcano in Kagoshima prefecture, Japan, will erupt on July 24, 2022 with a video grab from a live camera image of the Japan Meteorological Agency. (Distributed via Japan Meteorological Agency / Reuters)

Officials said they had raised the eruption warning to the highest level of 5, and advised about 120 residents of the two volcanic towns to leave their homes.

Authorities warned that volcanic rocks could fall within 3 km (1.8 miles) of the crater, causing lava, ash, and scorching gas to flow within 2 km (1.2 miles).

About 1,000 km (600 miles) southwest of Tokyo, Sakurajima is one of the most active volcanoes in Japan and has repeatedly erupted. Once an island, it became a peninsula in the 1914 eruption.

Mari Yamaguchi

Associated Press