2 Feb 2011

New eruption from Japan volcano

11:47 am on 2 February 2011

A violent blast from a volcano in the Kyushu province of Japan has thrown out huge clouds of ash and gas and broken windows in houses eight kilometres from the mountain.

Hundreds of people have already fled their homes since Shinmoedake began erupting last Wednesday, the volcano's first major activity in more than half a century, the BBC reports.

Volcanologists have warned of more large blasts and possible lava flows from the peak on Mt Kirishima, the location of the 1967 James Bond movie You Only Live Twice.

The Japanese government has widened the exclusion zone to a 4 kilometre radius from the peak.

The latest bang could be heard more than 7km (4.3 miles) away, Japan's NHK television reported.

No serious injuries have been reported, although an elderly woman was cut by flying glass. Hundreds of windows were smashed by the blast, officials said.

Domestic flights in and out of Miyazaki, about 950 kilometres south-west of Tokyo, were grounded last week.

Train services and schools have also been affected.