Volcano evacuation zone widens

MIYAZAKI (Kyodo) Officials in Takaharu, Miyazaki Prefecture, have told about 500 households to evacuate because the volcanic eruption on Mount Kirishima could trigger landslides and send boulders flying their way.

Takaharu issued the recommendation at around midnight Sunday after the Miyazaki Local Meteorological Observatory said the lava dome on 1,421-meter Shinmoedake peak was rising. The warning could affect 1,100 residents.

About 610 people had evacuated to four shelters as of Monday morning, the town said.

But an observatory on the Kagoshima Prefecture side of the volcano said the risk posed by the lava dome isn’t high enough to evacuate.

According to the Kagoshima Local Meteorological Observatory, satellite images show the lava dome, which measured 100 meters across on Thursday, had widened to about 500 meters Saturday.

Smaller eruptions have continued to rock Shinmoedake peak since it blew its top last week in its first major eruption since 1822. The volcano is one of several on Mount Kirishima and appeared in the 1967 James Bond film “You Only Live Twice.”