• Kyodo

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A government task force monitoring the eruption of Mount Usu announced Saturday that experts on Sunday will examine sites near craters on the mountain in southwestern Hokkaido as volcanic activity is gradually subsiding.

The research team consists of six members, including Abuta Mayor Yoshio Nagasaki and Hiromu Okada, the chairman of the local section of the Coordinating Committee for the Prediction of Volcanic Eruptions, an advisory panel to the Meteorological Agency.

Selected research sites in the Lake Toya hot spring district and the Izumi district lie about 500 meters from craters. Residents are prohibited from entering the area and it will be the first time such research has been conducted since the March 31 eruption.

The team will sample volcanic ash as well as check debris and dislocation to help predict future volcanic activity.

Some 5,000 residents of the Lake Toya hot spring district remain under evacuation orders.