Japan volcano eruption: People under evacuation warning as ‘highest alert’ issued

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A volcano on Japan's main southern island of Kyushu erupted Sunday night, spewing ash and rocks into the sky.

There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries in nearby towns but residents were advised to evacuate.

Japan's Meteorological Agency said Sakurajima volcano erupted at around 8.05 pm, blowing off large rocks as far as 1.5 miles away in the southern prefecture of Kagoshima.

Footage on Japan's NHK public television network showed dark smoke of ash billowing from the mountaintop high up into the night sky.

The agency said it has raised the eruption alert to the highest level of five and about 120 residents in two towns were advised to prepare for a possible evacuation.

The agency warned of falling volcanic rocks in areas within 3 kilometers (1.8 miles) of the crater and possible flow of lava, ash and searing gas within 1.2 miles.

Japan's nuclear regulators said no irregularities had been detected at the nearby Sendai nuclear power plant

The nuclear facility is located some 31 miles northwest of Sakurajima.

Sakurajima is one of the most active volcanos in Japan and has repeatedly erupted.

It used to be an island but became a peninsula following an eruption in 1914.

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