National

Sakurajima alert level lowered as fears of major eruption ease

Kyodo

The Meteorological Agency on Tuesday downgraded its volcanic warning level for Sakurajima, a mountain that looms over the city of Kagoshima, Kagoshima Prefecture. It said the risk of a larger-than-usual eruption has diminished.

Citing a reduction in the number of volcanic earthquakes detected, the Meteorological Agency lowered its alert level on the 1,117-meter volcano to 3 on a 5-point scale. Restrictions remain on climbing the mountain.

It lifted the level to 4 on Aug. 15, the highest ever for the volcano, instructing nearby residents to prepare to evacuate. Small eruptions have since been observed, shooting ash several hundred meters into the air.

No rapid crustal movement has been observed since Aug. 17, a local meteorological observatory said, which suggests magma is not rising into the summit reservoir.

Sakurajima had a major eruption in August 2013, spewing ash 5,000 meters into the sky.

The volcano is only around 50 km from the Sendai nuclear power plant, where one reactor is now active. Operator Kyushu Electric Power Co. has reported no abnormalities at the plant.

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