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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.…

Alert Level Raised for Mount Zaō, Warning of Small Eruption (News)

Tokyo, Jan. 30 (Jiji Press)—The Japan Meteorological Agency raised its volcanic alert for Mount Zaō on Tuesday as it detected signs of a possible small-scale eruption of the 1,841-meter mountain. In a volcanic warning issued at 2:38 p.m., the agency raised the alert to level 2, on a scale of 1 to 5, urging people not to approach the crater, from level 1, which calls attention to the potential f…

One Dead, 11 Injured as Volcano Erupts in Eastern Japan (News)

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 sai…

Southwestern Japan Volcano Erupts for First Time in Six Years (News)

Tokyo, Oct. 11 (Jiji Press)—An active volcano in southwestern Japan erupted on Wednesday morning for the first time in about six years, the Japan Meteorological Agency said the same day. Shinmoedake, which is part of the Kirishima mountain range straddling Miyazaki and Kagoshima Prefectures, started erupting around 5:34 a.m. (8:34 p.m. Tuesday GMT). Shinmoedake last erupted on September 7, 2011…

Buried by a Volcano: The Destructive Past of Japan’s Mount AsamaJames Singleton

The residents of Kanbara, a tiny town tucked among rolling hills and fields in western Gunma Prefecture, know all too well the destructive potential of Mount Asama. The fitful volcano, towering 2,568 meters into the sky some 12 kilometers to the south, roared to life in the late eighteenth century, spewing ash, stone, and magma far across the landscape. The cataclysmic eruption, one of the most wi…

Five Japanese Staff

August 11 this year is the first-ever Mountain Day, Japan’s newest national holiday. Japan is known for its rugged, mountainous terrain—over 70% of the national land is mountains and hills unsuitable for agriculture or city-building. And many of these mountains, including Mount Fuji, a symbol of Japan to people around the globe, are volcanoes. Summer is climbing season, and with the new day off…

More Than Just a Weather Service: Japan’s Multifunctional Meteorological AgencyFurukawa Takehiko

The Japan Meteorological Agency is playing an increasingly prominent role as extreme weather events continue to strike the Japanese archipelago. More than just a weather service, JMA also monitors volcanic and seismic activity on land and waves and currents at sea, and it helps protect lives by issuing various types of warnings.

Japan’s Restless Volcanoes

Japan is home to 10% of the world's active volcanoes, and a surge in small-scale volcanic activity has had the nation on edge in the wake of the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake. We talked to Nakada Setsuya, one of Japan’s leading volcanologists, about the recent spate of eruptions and its implications.

Timeline for May 2015

The volcano Shindake erupts on the southern island of Kuchinoerabujima, a plan to reform local government in Osaka is defeated, and debate over new security legislation begins in the Diet. These are the top Japanese stories for May 2015.

Ontake Erupts, Shows Difficulty of Predicting Volcanic Disaster

On September 27, 2014, Mount Ontake suddenly erupted. The 3,067-meter peak, which straddles the border between Nagano and Gifu Prefectures, is Japan’s second-highest volcano behind Mount Fuji and is listed as one of the nation’s “100 Famous Mountains.” Many climbers enjoying the fine weather of the autumn season were caught up in the disaster, which caused numerous fatalities. This is the first ti…

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