Kumamoto’s Mount Aso erupts as alert level raised


An eruption was observed Wednesday at Mount Aso in Kumamoto Prefecture, the weather agency said.

The eruption occurred at 11:43 a.m. at the No. 1 Nakadake crater, according to the Meteorological Agency.

Pyroclastic flow triggered by the eruption traveled more than one kilometer from the crater and volcanic ash reached a height of about 3,500 meters, the agency said.

The agency issued a level 3 volcanic activity alert, urging those nearby not to approach the area. The alert covers the city of Aso, town of Takamori and village of Minami-Aso. A level 3 alert is the third-highest on the five-tiered scale.

There were no immediate reports of casualties or major damage at the popular tourist destination, according to local authorities.

The government set up an information communication office at the Prime Minister’s Office following the eruption.

The latest eruption came after a small-scale one Thursday.

Ash from one of the peaks of the 1,592-meter mountain will be detected in nearby towns until late afternoon on Wednesday, the agency said.

There was a small eruption at Mount Aso in 2019, and 63 people were killed or went missing on Mount Ontake — which straddles Nagano and Gifu prefectures — in September 2014, which was the worst volcanic disaster in Japan in nearly 90 years.

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