Twenty-seven residents from Kuchinoerabu Island in Kagoshima Prefecture who evacuated when Mount Shindake erupted last week returned to the island for a short time Monday morning.

They were mainly members of the local volunteer fire corps and people who raise farm animals on the small island. They visited each house to make safety checks and unplug household appliances as well as to check on the condition of their livestock.

It was the first return by residents following Friday's volcanic eruption. As a safety precaution against another eruption by Shindake while they were on the island, three helicopters from the Self-Defense Forces, the prefectural police and the land ministry, as well a Japan Coast Guard patrol boat, was put on standby.