Japan’s Sakurajima volcano, located on the major western island of Kyushu, near the city of Kagoshima, erupted on Sunday prompting a Level 5 alert, the highest alert level. It is one of Japan’s most active volcanoes, having erupted on several occasions in recent decades. It is also one of the most monitored volcanoes in the country. Footage on Japan’s NHK public television showed orange flames flashing near the crater. Volcanic stones rained down at a distance of 2.5 km (1.5 miles) from the volcano. Evacuation in the region was forced. Caution was advized to residents in Kagoshima Prefecture and Kagoshima City against pyroclastic flows , a hot and mobile mixture of rock, gas and ash.
There were no immediate reports of damage from Sunday’s eruption. Nuclear regulators said there were no irregularities detected at the Sendai atomic plant, which lies about 50 km (31 miles) from the volcano. The Japan Meteorological Agency estimated that a large-scale eruption was not imminent on Sakurajima right now. “We will put the people’s lives first and do our utmost to assess the situation and respond to any emergency,” Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihiko Isozaki told media.