Sakurajima volcano blasts a rock into the sky that lands 1.5 miles away (Photo: AP)

Japan’s prime minister has ordered authorities to take measures to save lives after a volcano erupted on the country’s main western island of Kyushu.

It looks like evacuations will begin, with the eruption danger level raised to the nation’s highest level of 5.

Rocks were reported to be hurled from the Sakurajima volcano, falling 2.5 km (1.5 miles) to the ground, public broadcaster NHK reported.

The volcano is one of the most active in Japan, and eruptions of various levels occur regularly. In 2019, it spewed ash 5.5 km (3.4 mi) high.

Footage of today’s eruption showed what appeared to be a red mass pouring down one side of the volcano, with red projectiles flying as smoke rose into the night sky.

As reported by the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), the eruption occurred around 20.05 (12.05 British time).

He added that about 120 residents in the two cities were advised to prepare for possible evacuation.

Aerial view of Mount Sakurajima, one of Japan’s most active volcanoes (Photo: Reuters)

The agency warned of falling volcanic rock within 3 kilometers (1.8 miles) of the crater, as well as possible flows of lava and ash and burning gas within 2 kilometers (1.2 miles).

There were no immediate reports of damage, and two hours after the eruption, a government spokesman said they had not heard of any damage either.

Most of the city of Kagoshima is across the bay from the volcano, but several residential areas are within about 3 km (1.9 miles) of the crater – and NHK said they may be ordered to evacuate.

During a visit to an army base, Boris throws a grenade and tries a rocket launcher

During a visit to an army base, Boris throws a grenade and tries a rocket launcher

Japan’s nuclear regulators said on Sunday that no irregularities had been detected at the Sendai nuclear power plant, located about 50 km (31 miles) northwest of Sakurajima.

Officials in Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s office are said to be gathering information on the situation as it develops.

The mountain used to be an island, but after an eruption in 1914, it turned into a peninsula.

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