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Japan’s ‘OO7’ Volcano Erupts for Tenth Time in a Week

Japan’s ‘OO7’ Volcano Erupts for Ninth Time in a Week
White smoke rises from Mount Shinmoedake in the Kirishima mountain range in Kagoshima prefecture, Japan's southern island of Kyushu, Japan. Source: Jiji Press/AFP/Getty Images

Shinmoedake, a volcano on Japan’s southern island of Kyushu that was featured in the James Bond movie ‘You Only Live Twice,’ erupted for the second time today and ninth time in a week, Japan’s Meteorological Agency said.

The 1,421-meter (4,660 feet) volcano in the Kirishima range erupted at 12:17 p.m. local time, spewing a cloud of smoke and ash as high as 2,500 meters that drifted east-northeast toward Miyazaki Prefecture’s Pacific coastline, a branch division of the agency said in a statement today. The eruption followed an earlier one at 3 a.m., the agency said.

Japan Airlines Corp., All Nippon Airways Co. and Skymark Airlines Inc., Japan’s biggest discount carrier, said flights to the region may be delayed or diverted because of the ash plume. Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. is no longer warning about delays between Hong Kong and Osaka, Nagoya and Tokyo.

Shinmoedake erupted for the first time in 52 years on Jan. 27, according to the JMA. The agency said yesterday a lava dome in the crater has grown to about 600 meters across from 10 meters when the eruptions started, and may spill out, creating a lava flow. Authorities are maintaining a restricted zone of 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) around the volcano.

There have been no reports of injuries since Feb. 1, when an eruption smashed more than 180 window panes in hospitals and schools about six kilometers from the crater, injuring a 92 year-old woman, NHK reported at the time. The eruption was the strongest as of yesterday, according to the JMA.

The weather agency maintained a level 3 alert for Shinmoedake and Sakurajima volcano, 45 kilometers (28 miles) to the southwest, indicating an eruption “may seriously affect places near residential areas.” Evacuations are carried out when the alert reaches the maximum 5.

Shinmoedake was the setting for villain Ernst Blofeld’s volcano headquarters in the 1967 Bond movie featuring Sean Connery in the title role, according to the Internet Movie Database.

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