Volcano erupts in southwestern Japan

TOKYO -- Mount Shinmoe on the southwestern Japanese main island of Kyushu erupted on Thursday, the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) said.

According to the JMA, volcanic tremors were observed on Mt. Shinmoe, which straddles Kagoshima and Miyazaki prefectures, at around 11 a.m. local time.

The 1,421-meter high volcano, located in the Kirishima mountain range, erupted at around 11 a.m. local time and volcanic earthquakes had been recorded at the mountain since around 8:15 a.m. this morning.

The volcano previously erupted five months ago in October last year.

The weather agency said volcanic ash was sighted by witnesses to the east of the mountain in the town of Takaharu.

This was later confirmed by town officials, with the JMA saying it will deploy its officials to investigate the occurrence.

Local police said they have received no immediate reports of damage to people or property as a result of the eruption.

The JMA said it will maintain its alert level for the volcano at 3 on its scale, which peaks at 5 and is advising people: "Do not approach the mountain."

The JMA has warned of the possibility of falling volcanic rocks within two kilometers from the volcano's crater. It has also warned of the possibility of pyroclastic flows within 1 kilometer.

Mt. Shinmoe last erupted in January 2011 and October 2017, with the latter eruption seeing volcanic ash spewed 2,300 meters above the crater. (Xinhua)