Volcano erupts on southern Japanese island

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Volcano erupts on southern Japanese island
A column of smoke raises from Mount Shindake on Kuchinoerabu island, southern Japan, Friday, May 29, 2015. Thevolcano is erupting on the small island, and authorities have ordered residents to evacuate the island. Mount Shindake erupted in spectacular fashion Friday, spewing towering black-gray clouds into the sky. No injuries have been reported, although the Japan Meteorological Agency reports that pyroclastic flows from the volcano have reached the shore to the northwest. (Kyodo News via AP)
A column of smoke raises from Mount Shindake on Kuchinoerabu island, southern Japan, Friday, May 29, 2015. Thevolcano is erupting on the small island, and authorities have ordered residents to evacuate the island. Mount Shindake erupted in spectacular fashion Friday, spewing towering black-gray clouds into the sky. No injuries have been reported, although the Japan Meteorological Agency reports that pyroclastic flows from the volcano have reached the shore to the northwest. (Kyodo News via AP)
In this image taken from a surveillance camera observed from Motomura Nishi on Kuchinoerabu island, a column of black smoke rises from Mount Shindake, on the island, southern Japan, Friday, May 29, 2015. The volcano erupted on the small island about 10 a.m. local time Friday, spewing black clouds of ash and rock towering into the sky and prompting authorities to tell residents to evacuate the island. (Japan Meteorological Agency via AP) 
In this image taken from a surveillance camera observed from Yakushima Nagata on Kuchinoerabu island, a column of smoke rises from Mount Shindake on the island, southern Japan, Friday, May 29, 2015. The volcano erupted on the small island about 10 a.m. local time Friday, spewing black clouds of ash and rock towering into the sky and prompting authorities to tell residents to evacuate the island. (Japan Meteorological Agency via AP)
[NHK] Japan Meteorological Agency, announced the "eruption warning" just to Kuchinoerabujima, and raised the eruption alert level to Level 5, has called for strict vigilance as we need evacuation of island residents.
Kuchinoerabu-jima volcano on southern Japanese island has erupted. Pic via @denki_minto http://t.co/EDjSKLiRtG
Evacuations ordered after volcano erupts on Japanese island http://t.co/QGpKPDCWUX
5月29日:桜島 04時30分ごろ、九州の種子島近海で2連続の地震後、 05時07分:爆発的噴火 06時20分:爆発的噴火 07時20分:爆発的噴火 1955年の観測開始以来、観測史上最速ペースの爆発的噴火。 http://t.co/NavyYXZ35f
#VNewsCD Photo: Ash cloud from Japan's Mount Shindake volcano -… http://t.co/U1yYnspscN #Foxnews #CNN #MTVStars http://t.co/d7cq0ga6eo
Watch the dramatic moment Japanese volcano Mount Shindake erupts http://t.co/GyeKmN1qzx http://t.co/c6sFq97uA5
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TOKYO (AP) -- A volcano erupted on a small island in southern Japan on Friday, and authorities told residents to evacuate the island.

Mount Shindake erupted about 10 a.m. (0100 GMT) in spectacular fashion, spewing towering black-gray clouds into the sky.

No injuries had been reported, although the Japan Meteorological Agency reported that pyroclastic flows, dense currents of rock fragments and hot gases, from the volcano had reached the shore to the northwest.

The government was surveying the island by helicopter to assess damage.

Nobuaki Hayashi, a local village chief, said about 100 residents were gathered at a local evacuation facility.

"There was a really loud sound of an explosion, and then black smoke rose, darkening the sky," he told the national broadcaster NHK. "It smells of sulfur."

About 140 people live on Kuchinoerabu island in the Ryukyu archipelago, 50 miles (80 kilometers) southwest of the main southern island of Kyushu. Tourism and fishing are the main activities on the heavily forested, mountainous island, which is a national park.

The Japan Meterological Agency raised the volcano alert level to five, the highest on its scale. Shindake also erupted in August last year for the first time since 1980.

Kuchinoerabu island can be reached only by a once-a-day ferry from Yakushima island, 12 kilometers (about 7 miles) to the east, which has an airport and a population of more than 13,000 people.

Japan, which sits atop the Pacific "Ring of Fire," has dozens of volcanoes and is frequently jolted by earthquakes.

Authorities recently closed part of a popular hot springs about 80 kilometers (50 miles) from Tokyo because of fears Mount Hakone, which sits to the southeast of Mount Fuji, might erupt.

The eruption last September of another volcano, Mount Ontake in central Japan, killed 57 people.

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