Sakurajima, western Japan volcano, erupts

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A volcano in western Japan erupted Sunday night, sending a large cloud of black smoke into the sky and spewing rocks.

Named Sakurajima, the volcano is located on the southwestern island of Kyushu, about 600 miles from Tokyo. It is one of the most active volcanoes in Japan.

The Japan Meteorological Agency raised the volcano alert from Level 3 to Level 5 — the highest alert level observed only once for another volcano in 2015, the Japan Times reported.

Based on analysis of data points, including seismic activity and crustal movement, the agency later said that a large-scale eruption at Sakurajima was not imminent.

The volcano erupted around 8:05 p.m. local time on Sunday, according to the weather agency. Videos of the eruption show bright orange lava spurting out of the volcano. The agency urged residents to beware of pyroclastic flows — a hot and moving mixture of rock, gas and ash — within about 2 km of the site.

Local reports cited volcanic rocks falling as far as 1.5 miles from the volcano’s site, and some nearby areas were advised to evacuate. Most of the city of Kagoshima is separated from the volcano by a bay.

There were no immediate reports of damage or casualties.

Nuclear regulators said the Sendai nuclear power plant, about 31 miles from the volcano, had found no abnormalities, Reuters reported.

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