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Kirishima volcano erupts

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The Shinmoedake peak billows smoke on Wednesday.

The Yomiuri Shimbun A small-scale eruption was observed at the Shinmoedake peak of the Kirishima volcano group straddling Kagoshima and Miyazaki prefectures at 5:34 a.m. on Wednesday.

It is the first eruption here since Sept. 7, 2011.

The Japan Meteorological Agency raised its volcanic alert from Level 2 — warning people to not approach the craters — to Level 3 with the warning: “Do not approach the volcano.” The alert levels go up to five. The agency also warned there could be an explosive eruption.

It was the first time since January 2011 the alert was raised to Level 3. The Kagoshima prefectural government established a disaster alert headquarters Wednesday. No injuries have been reported in either prefecture.

The 1,421-meter-high volcano spewed columns of smoke about 300 meters, but no cinders have been found, according to the agency.Speech

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