The revised active volcano law has taken effect in the hopes of helping residents such as those around Mount Iwate in the Tohoku region prepare for the worst, but apathy has taken root.

When the 2,038-meter Mount Iwate, the highest in the Ou Mountains that straddle the cities of Hachimantai and Takizawa and the town of Shizukuishi in Iwate Prefecture, experienced an "eruption crisis" 26 years ago with increased volcanic activity, the local economy was dealt a major blow.

But memories of the crisis are fading with time, and the local community faces the need to better prepare for possible eruptions after long intervals of quiet.