A volcano on Sakurajima in Kagoshima Prefecture, southwestern Japan, erupted Wednesday, with plumes rising to 5,000 meters above the summit crater for the first time since 2020, a local weather observatory said.

There were no immediate reports of injuries and damage to buildings, the prefectural government said, while the Kagoshima Meteorological Office maintained the volcanic activity alert level at three, urging people not to approach the volcano.

Photo taken on Feb. 14, 2024, from an unmanned fixed-point camera in Tarumizu, Kagoshima Prefecture, shows an eruption of a volcano on Sakurajima in the southwestern Japan prefecture. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

The Japan Meteorological Agency forecast volcanic ashes to fall in parts of Kumamoto, Miyazaki and Kagoshima prefectures.

The explosive eruption occurred at the Minamidake crater around 6:33 p.m., and it is the first time for plumes rising to 5,000 meters since Aug. 9, 2020, when an eruption occurred at the same crater.

Rocks flew for a distance of 1,000 to 1,300 meters but no pyroclastic flows were generated, according to the local weather office.

A swelling of the mountain detected Tuesday evening has been subsided due to the eruption, the office said.

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