Japan: Volcano Ash Coats Kagoshima City

A volcano has erupted in southwestern Japan and coated a city with a layer of ash.

People in Kagoshima city wore masks and used umbrellas to shield themselves from the falling ash after the Sakurajima volcano erupted on Sunday and spewed a three-mile smoke plume into the sky.

Drivers were forced to turn on their headlights as the sky went dark and train services in the city were halted temporarily so ash could be removed from the tracks.

Officials said no injuries or damage have been reported.

By this morning, the air was clearer as the city mobilised hundreds of rubbish trucks and sprinklers, and masked residents helped sweep up the ash.

Business has largely returned to normal in the city of 600,000 people living only 6 miles (10km) from the volcano whose eruptions are part of their daily life.

"The smoke was a bit dramatic, but we are kind of used to it," said a city official.

Japan is on the Pacific 'Ring of Fire' and has frequent seismic activity.

Sunday's eruption was the 500th this year of Sakurajima, a statement from the city said.

The Japan Meteorological Agency said there were no signs of a larger eruption but warned similar activity could continue.