Volcanic eruption in Japan spreads ash in 4 cities, towns

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TOKYO – A volcano in southwestern Japan has erupted for the first time in six years and spread ash in nearby cities and towns.

Japanese broadcaster TBS showed footage of elementary school students wearing helmets and masks on the way to their school at the foot of the Shinmoedake volcano. Residents also described rumbles being heard from the volcano.

The report said a plume rose 1,700 meters (5,600 feet) from the crater and ash fell in at least four cities and towns in Miyazaki prefecture Thursday.

The volcano on the border of Kagoshima and Miyazaki prefectures erupted Wednesday for the first time in 6 years.

The Japan Meteorological Agency raised the volcanic alert level from 2 to 3 on a scale of 5. Level 3 warns people to not approach the volcano.

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