Ban on Entry to Mount Aso Crater Areas Lifted (News)
Kumamoto (Jiji Press)—An entry ban for areas around a crater of Nakadake, one of the peaks comprising Mount Aso in Kumamoto Prefecture, southwestern Japan, was lifted on Wednesday, about three and a half years after it was imposed following a rise in the peak's volcanic activities.
Up until the introduction of the ban in August 2014, about 1 million people visited the major tourist spot a year.
Local communities hope that the latest move will help lure back visitors to the Aso region at a time when tourism there has continued slumping following a string of powerful earthquakes that mainly hit the prefecture in April 2016.
The entry ban for the areas within around 1 kilometer of the primary crater of 1,506-meter Nakadake was removed at 10:30 a.m. But visitors were not allowed to approach the crater due to low visibility amid heavy fog.
The Japan Meteorological Agency raised its volcanic alert for Nakadake to Level 2 on the scale of 5 in August 2014, advising against approaching the primary crater. In October 2016, the alert was raised to Level 3, a warning against approaching the entire volcano, as an explosive eruption occurred at the crater for the first time in some 36 years.[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]