Mt. Aso volcano in Kumamoto (press photo, from Kyodo news)
KUMAMOTO — The Meteorological Agency on Monday raised the volcanic alert level for Mount Aso from 1 to 2, prompting local authorities in Kumamoto Prefecture to ban entry to areas within 1 km of the crater of Mount Naka, one of five peaks in the active volcano’s central cone group.
The alert includes a warning for rocks ejected from Mount Naka in the off-limits areas.
The move came after the mountain belched a small amount of volcanic ash Friday and experienced a small eruption Sunday.
On Monday, a small eruption and a 500-meter-high column of volcanic smoke were observed at around 10 a.m.