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Japan’s Sakurajima volcano erupts officials issue highest alert

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The Sakurajima volcano, one of Japan’s most active volcanoes, erupted Sunday evening, prompting evacuations on the country’s southern island.

The meteorological agency issued a Level 5 alert, the highest alert possible, to residential areas immediately near the volcano, such as parts of Kagoshima City, to evacuate. The city is home to about 600,000 people.

Evacuees were advised to be cautious of falling volcanic rocks and possible flow of lava, ash and searing gas within 2 miles of the crater.

No injuries, deaths or damage were immediately reported.

Officials also warned that window glass in nearby cities could break because of air vibration from the explosion, and wind could carry volcanic ash around the country.

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Nuclear regulators said no irregularities were detected at the Sendai atomic plant 31 miles from the volcano, Reuters reported.

One of the most active volcanoes in the country, Sakurajima is close to 600 miles southwest of Tokyo and has erupted throughout the centuries, according to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History Global Volcanism Program. It used to be an island but became a peninsula after an eruption in 1914.

The Minamidake summit cone and crater have been active since 1955, but it significantly decreased in the second half of 2021, according to the Smithsonian.

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