Japan warns of increased volcano activity

File: AP
File: AP

Tokyo - Japan warned on Friday that a volcano in southern Japan located roughly 64km from a nuclear plant was showing signs of increased activity that could possibly lead to a small-scale eruption and warned people to stay away from the summit.

The warning comes nearly a month after another volcano, Mt Ontake, erupted suddenly when crowded with hikers, killing 57 people in Japan's worst volcanic disaster in nearly 90 years.

Ioyama, a mountain on the southwestern island of Kyushu, has been shaken by small tremors and other signs of rising volcanic activity recently, including a tremor lasting as long as seven minutes, an official at the Japan Meteorological Agency's volcano division said.

"There is an increase in activity that under certain circumstances could even lead to a small scale eruption, but it is not in danger of an imminent, major eruption," the official said.

The warning level on the mountain has been raised from the lowest possible level, normal, to the second lowest, which means that the area around the crater is dangerous, he added.

Past eruptions

Ioyama lies in the volcanically active Kirishima mountain range and is roughly 64 km from the Sendai nuclear plant run by Kyushu Electric Power Co, which the Japanese government wants to restart even though the public remains opposed to nuclear power following the Fukushima crisis.

Critics point out that the Sendai plant is located about 50kms from Mount Sakurajima, an active volcano that erupts frequently. Five giant calderas, crater-like depressions formed by past eruptions, are also in the region, the closest one 40kms away.

The plant still needs to pass operational safety checks as well as gain the approval of local authorities and may not restart till next year.

Before giving its initial greenlight to restart the plant in July, the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) said the chance of major volcanic activity during the lifespan of the Sendai nuclear plant was negligible.

On Friday, the warning level for the Sakurajima volcano, which erupts frequently, was at 3, which means that people should not approach the peak.

Japan lies on the "Ring of Fire" - a horseshoe-shaped band of fault lines and volcanoes around the edges of the Pacific Ocean - and is home to more than 100 active volcanoes.

Experts warn that the mammoth 9.0 March 2011 quake may have increased the risk of volcanic activity throughout Japan, including that of iconic Mount Fuji.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Voting Booth
When assisting your child with remote learning this year, did you:
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Follow the school's comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) curriculum?
13% - 116 votes
Adjust the CSE curriculum to suit the family's morals?
24% - 208 votes
Ignore the schools CSE programme and do your own teaching?
63% - 546 votes
Vote
ZAR/USD
15.25
(-0.09)
ZAR/GBP
20.29
(-0.13)
ZAR/EUR
18.23
(-0.16)
ZAR/AUD
11.25
(-0.20)
ZAR/JPY
0.15
(-0.04)
Gold
1787.51
(+0.09)
Silver
22.67
(+0.11)
Platinum
965.22
(+0.30)
Brent Crude
48.27
(+0.96)
Palladium
2413.01
(+0.60)
All Share
57822.50
(-0.17)
Top 40
53021.58
(-0.12)
Financial 15
11577.71
(-0.58)
Industrial 25
79894.95
(-0.12)
Resource 10
52804.55
(+0.03)
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes morningstar logo