Aso volcano erupts in Japan

Aso volcano, Japan’s largest active volcano located in southwestern Kumamoto Prefecture, has become active, accompanied by a significant eruption, the Japan Meteorological Agency reported.

Eleven climbers were evacuated from Mount Aso after the eruption, Japan’s Kyodo News Agency reported.

“I ask everyone in the vicinity to watch closely for new information and be vigilant,” Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida tweeted.

A pillar of smoke and ash ejected by the eruption rose 3.5 kilometers (2.1 miles) high, and volcanic rocks scattered around, reaching a distance of 1 kilometer. Meteorologists warned of the danger of rocks and pyroclastic flows erupting up to 2 kilometers away.

The meteorological agency declared a level 3 alert (level 5 is the highest possible) for the area, warning people not to approach the volcano.

“Aso volcano eruption: there is currently no interference with air traffic. The airport is operating as normal,” the website of Kumamoto International Airport, the closest airport to the volcano chain. Not far from the volcano is the Ikata nuclear power plant.

So far, no damage or casualties have been reported.

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