A volcano on the remote southern Japanese island of Kuchinoerabujima
erupted suddenly Friday, blasting plumes of black smoke high into the
sky and prompting authorities to order the evacuation of the island's
Mount Shindake erupted about 10 a.m. (0100 GMT). A pyroclastic flow of
superheated gas and rock flowed down the side of the peak and reached
the ocean, NHK said, but there were no immediate reports of injuries
to the island's roughly 150 residents.
The island, part of the Ryukyu archipelago, is about 160 kilometers
(100 miles) south of Kyushu Electric Power's Sendai nuclear plant on
Japan's southernmost main island of Kyushu.
It was not immediately clear if the eruption would affect the power
company's hopes to restart the plant, which on Wednesday cleared the
last step of the nuclear regulator's stringent safety hurdles
introduced after the Fukushima Daiichi disaster in 2011.
Japan is one of the world's most seismically active nations, and there
has been a surge in volcanic activity in recent weeks.