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Volcano erupts in southern Japan but no evacuation warning issued

Reuters, Kyodo

A volcano erupted on a remote island in southern Japan on Thursday, the Meteorological Agency said, but the warning level was kept below the threshold that would require an evacuation.

The agency said the volcano on Kuchinoerabu Island, Kagoshima Prefecture, erupted at 9:20 a.m. Live images showed thick black smoke billowing out of the mountain.

The eruption released pyroclastic flows, or flows of super-heated ash and gas, but the flows did not reach residential areas. No injuries were reported, according to the Kagoshima Prefectural Government.

After Thursday’s eruption, the Meteorological Agency maintained the island’s volcano warning level at 3 on a scale of 5. Level 3 warns climbers not to scale the mountain but advises residents to go about their lives as usual.

A series of large-scale eruptions occurred on the island last month.

The same peak erupted explosively in 2015, sending ash and smoke thousands of meters into the sky and releasing potentially deadly pyroclastic flows that reached the sea. All of the island’s residents were evacuated at the time but eventually returned. Some 100 people now live there.

Japan has 110 active volcanoes, 47 of which are under constant observation.

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