On Kyushu, the largest island in southern Japan, a volcano erupted, spewing ash and boulders into the air as well as thick black smoke.
Residents in surrounding towns were warned to leave on Sunday evening, but there were no early reports of damage or injuries there.
Around 8:05 p.m. (11:05 GMT), the Sakurajima volcano, which lies close to the city of Kagoshima on the southern point of Kyushu, erupted. the southern prefecture of the city as far as 2.5km (15.5 miles) away on Sunday, according to the Japanese Meteorological Agency (JMA).
Public broadcaster NHK in Japan broadcast images of orange flames flashing close to the crater. According to the statement, some localities have been urged to evacuate as the eruption alert level has been raised to five, the highest.
120 people in two towns were told to leave their houses and warned of volcanic boulders falling from the sky up to 3 km (1.9 miles) away from the crater as well as the potential for lava, ash, and scorching gas flowing within 2 km of it (1.2 miles).
Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihiko Isozaki told reporters, “We will put the people’s lives first and do our utmost to assess the situation and respond to any emergency.
According to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Sakurajima has seen frequent explosive activity for ages. The Minamidake summit cone and crater have seen continuous activity since 1955, and the Showa crater has experienced sporadic activity since 2006.
Activity decreased significantly in May 2021 and throughout the rest of the year, when the number of monthly explosions and ash emissions were both much lower compared with the first half of the year, according to the Smithsonian.
A task force at the prime minister’s office has assembled a team of representatives from different agencies to determine the severity of the emergency.