Family members of some victims of a 2014 volcanic eruption filed a ¥140 million ($1.2 million) damages lawsuit Wednesday, accusing the weather agency of failing to issue a proper volcanic alert for hikers.

The families of five victims said in the suit filed with the Nagano District Court's Matsumoto Branch that the agency failed to raise the alert level from 1 to 2 and designate as off limits an area near the crater of Mount Ontake, which straddles Nagano and Gifu prefectures, before the Sept. 27, 2014, eruption.

It is rare that the focal point of a lawsuit in natural disaster-prone Japan is the extent to which the Japan Meteorological Agency is responsible for forecasting volcanic eruptions.