Japan's Mount Aso erupts, alerts issued

Japan's Mount Aso on the island of Kyushu has erupted, prompting raised alert levels.
Japan's Mount Aso on the island of Kyushu has erupted, prompting raised alert levels.

Mount Aso, a volcano on Japan's main southern island of Kyushu, has erupted, Japan's Meteorological Agency says, spewing volcanic ash 3500 metres into the sky.

The eruption took place at around 11.43am on Wednesday, the agency said.

There were no immediae reports of casualties or major damage at the popular tourist destination.

But the meteorological agency raised the alert level for the volcano to level 3 on a scale of 5, telling people not to approach the mountain.

It also warned of large volcanic blocks and pyroclastic flows scatterering within a range of approximately a kilometre from the mountain's Nakadake crater.

Ash falls from one of the peaks of the 1592-metre mountain in Kumamoto Prefecture will be detected in nearby towns until late afternoon on Wednesday, according to the agency.

There was a small eruption at Mount Aso in 2019, and 63 people were killed on Mount Ontake in September 2014, which was the worst volcanic disaster in Japan for nearly 90 years.

Australian Associated Press