National

Small volcanic eruption observed on Mount Aso in Kumamoto Prefecture

Kyodo

After a small eruption was observed Tuesday evening on Mount Aso in Kumamoto Prefecture the weather agency said Wednesday morning no new eruptions had been confirmed, although the volcanic plume could still seen.

While there were no immediate reports of injuries from the Tuesday eruption, the local tourism industry is concerned over possible negative impacts.

“Time has passed (since the last eruption in October 2016) and tourists were starting to come back to Mount Aso,” said Naomi Goto, 52, who works at an inn in the city of Aso. “I hope (the latest eruption) will not discourage people from visiting the area during the coming Golden Week holidays.”

An Aso Municipal Government official in charge of tourism said no tourist facilities or hotels have been closed due to the latest eruption.

The Meteorological Agency confirmed that the eruption occurred at 6:28 p.m. Tuesday. The government had raised the alert level from 1 to 2 on Sunday.

The volcanic plume rose about 200 meters above the crater, the agency added.

The government set up a communication office in the crisis management center at the Prime Minister’s Office to monitor the situation.

Mount Aso is one of the largest active volcanoes in the world.