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Volcano Erupts in Southern Japan

October 8, 2000

TOKYO (AP) _ A volcano erupted in southern Japan on Saturday, blowing ash 3 miles into the air and blanketing a nearby city in dust. No injuries or damage were reported.

Sakurajima, a volcanic peninsula in Kagoshima Bay about 600 miles southwest of Tokyo, exploded from the south side of its slope, the Meteorological Agency said.

The last major blast on Sakurajima on Kyushu island was recorded in December 1999, when volcanic rocks rained down the mountain’s slopes, the agency said.

Footage on Japan’s semi-government television network NHK showed pedestrians walking gingerly on ash-covered streets in Kagoshima city while covering their mouths with towels and using umbrellas.

The 3,686-foot high Sakurajima has had 130 minor explosions so far this year, the agency said. Clouds of ash constantly drift from its crater.

Authorities warned local residents of further volcanic activity and poor visibility from heavy ash falls in Kagoshima, where ashes were as thick as 1 centimeter (a half an inch).

The last time Sakurajima has spewed as much was about five years ago, the agency said. The volcano once stood as an island in the bay, but lavaflow from an eruption in 1914 connected it to the mainland.

Volcanos have erupted in several areas of Japan this year, causing widespread evacuations.

Last month, all 4,000 residents on Miyakejima, an island 120 miles, south of Tokyo, were forced to leave the island after a volcano there erupted several times.

In September, Mount Komagatake on Japan’s northern main island of Hokkaido erupted for the first time in nearly two years, spewing ash and white smoke.

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