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Volcano erupts on Japan's Kuchinoerabu island

Eruption sends smoke into the air over sparsely-inhabited southern island, but there is no evacuation warning.

A volcano has erupted on a remote island in southern Japan, spewing ash and smoke into the air over the sparsely-populated area but causing no damage or injuries.

The Japan Meteorological Agency said Shindake volcano on Kuchinoerabu island, some 1,000km southwest of the capital, Tokyo, erupted at around 9:20am (00:20 GMT).

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.

Live images showed thick black smoke billowing out of the mountain, as the eruption sent rocks flying and hot gas and debris pouring down the crater.

The flows did not reach residential areas.

Public broadcaster NHK said there were no immediate reports of injuries or damage from the eruption. It added that eruptions have taken place intermittently on the island since October last year.

The same peak erupted explosively in 2015, sending ash and smoke thousands of metres into the sky and releasing potentially deadly pyroclastic flows that reached the sea.

The island's entire population was evacuated at the time but eventually returned. Some 100 people now live there.

Japan has 110 active volcanoes and monitors 47 constantly.

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