Tokyo: Mount Aso, the largest Japanese active volcano located in the country’s southwestern Kumamoto Prefecture, erupted on Wednesday, Japan Meteorological Agency reported.
Eleven climbers were evacuated from Mount Aso following the eruption, Japanese news agency Kyodo reported.
“I ask everyone in the vicinity to carefully follow new information and be vigilant,” Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida tweeted.
A column of smoke and ash ejected by the eruption rose to an altitude of 3.5 kilometers (2.1 miles), while volcanic rocks flew around, reaching a distance of 1 kilometer. Meteorologists warn of the danger of the release of stones and pyroclastic flows at a distance of up to 2 kilometers.
The weather agency issued a level three alert (level five is the highest possible) for the area, warning people not to approach the volcano.
“The eruption of Aso Mount: there is currently no interference with air traffic. The airport is operating as usual,” the Kumamoto international airport, the closest to the volcanic chain, said on its website.
The Ikata nuclear power plant is located not far away from the volcano. So far, no damages or casualties have been reported.