Volcano in southern Japan erupts; no injuries or damage

In this image from a surveillance camera released by Japan Meteorological Agency, a smoke column rises after an eruption of Shindake volcano in Kuchinoerabu island, southern Japan, Thursday, Jan. 17, 2019. Japan Meteorological Agency said Thursday’s eruption of Shindake volcano caused volcanic rocks flying out of the crater and pyroclastic flows pouring down but have not reached as far as the residential area 2 kilometers (1.2 mile) away. (Japan Meteorological Agency via AP)
A smoke column rises from Shindake volcano after its eruption in Kuchinoerabu island, southern Japan, Thursday, Jan. 17, 2019. Japan Meteorological Agency said Thursday's eruption caused volcanic rocks flying out of the crater and pyroclastic flows pouring down but have not reached as far as the residential area 2 kilometers (1.2 mile) away. (Kyodo News via AP)
A smoke column rises from Shindake volcano after its eruption in Kuchinoerabu island, southern Japan, Thursday, Jan. 17, 2019. Japan Meteorological Agency said the eruption caused volcanic rocks flying out of the crater and pyroclastic flows pouring down but have not reached as far as the residential area 2 kilometers (1.2 mile) away. (Kyodo News via AP)
A smoke column from Shindake volcano is seen after its eruption in Kuchinoerabu island, southern Japan, Thursday, Jan. 17, 2019. Japan Meteorological Agency said Thursday's eruption caused volcanic rocks flying out of the crater and pyroclastic flows pouring down but have not reached as far as the residential area 2 kilometers (1.2 mile) away. (Kyodo News via AP)
In this image from a surveillance camera released by Japan Meteorological Agency, a smoke column rises after an eruption of Shindake volcano in Kuchinoerabu island, southern Japan, Thursday, Jan. 17, 2019. Japan Meteorological Agency said Thursday’s eruption of Shindake volcano caused volcanic rocks flying out of the crater and pyroclastic flows pouring down but have not reached as far as the residential area 2 kilometers (1.2 mile) away. (Japan Meteorological Agency via AP)

TOKYO — A small island volcano in southern Japan erupted Thursday, blasting rocks and ashes into the air but causing no damage or injuries.

Japan Meteorological Agency said the eruption of the Shindake volcano on Kuchinoerabu island sent rocks flying and hot gas and debris pouring down the crater. It has not reached the residential area 2 kilometers (1.2 mile) away, the agency said.

Officials said no damage or injuries have been reported. About 80 residents initially took refuge at a shelter on the island but have since started to return home after an evacuation advisory was lifted less than two hours after the eruption.

Shizuko Goto, an innkeeper, told Kyodo News agency that she felt the ground rattling for several seconds following an explosion and decided to evacuate after seeing a massive cloud of black smoke rise from the volcano.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga urged residents to stay calm and follow safety instructions from local officials.

Shindake's last major eruption in May 2015 had temporarily displaced the island's entire population of about 150. The residents were evacuated to Yakushima Island, about 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) to the east.

Only about two thirds of them had since returned to Kuchinoerabu, south of Japan's main southern island of Kyushu.

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