One Dead, 11 Injured as Volcano Erupts in Eastern Japan


Kusatsu, Gunma Pref., Jan. 23 (Jiji Press)—A volcano in Gunma Prefecture, eastern Japan, erupted on Tuesday, killing one Self-Defense Forces member and injuring 11 other people, including ski resort visitors.

The eruption occurred on 2,171-meter-tall Mount Motoshirane, one of volcanoes collectively called Mount Kusatsu-Shirane, at around 9:59 a.m. (12:59 a.m. GMT), the Meteorological Agency said. The agency raised its volcanic alert for Mount Kusatsu-Shirane to Level 3 to ban the entry into the area.

The SDF member, 49, died after being hit by rocks from the volcano during ski training at a ski resort in the Gunma town of Kusatsu, the Defense Ministry said.

This is the first death caused by a volcanic eruption in Japan since the 2014 event on Mount Ontake, which straddles the central prefectures of Nagano and Gifu.

Seven other SDF members were injured by such rocks, with five of them suffering severe wounds.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

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