Kumamoto’s Mt. Aso in southwestern Japan erupted at 11.43 a.m. on Wednesday with a level three out of five volcanic activity alert.
The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) warned people of the risk of large volcanic blocks and pyroclastic flows within a radius of about 1km, which could widen to areas to about 2km around the Nakadake crater.
The agency also warned the public of possible large cinders and ash falls from the mountain that could affect nearby towns until late afternoon.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said no reports of injuries so far, but local authorities were working to find out if there were any climbers still on the mountain.
“Human lives are our priority, and we are working with the Self-Defense Forces, police, and firefighters, to effectively deal with the situation,” Matsuno said.
The last time the agency raised a level 3 alert for Mt. Aso was in 2016 where a weather satellite observed volcanic smoke rising from the crater up to 11,000 meters high.
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