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Japan volcano in spectacular eruption

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This image provided January 28, 2013 by NASA shows Japan???s Sakurajima volcano. The volcano in southern Japan erupted in spectacular fashion on Sunday, spewing an ash plume up to 5,000 metres into the air, meteorological officials said, according to a report. (NASA/ISS/AFP/File)

A volcano in southern Japan erupted in spectacular fashion on Sunday, spewing an ash plume up to 5,000 metres into the air, meteorological officials said, according to a report.

The eruption of the 1,117-metre (3,665-foot) Mount Sakurajima near Kagoshima city took place around 4:30 pm (0730 GMT), Jiji Press said.

A large amount of volcanic ash fell in the northern and central parts of the city, causing a delay in train services and temporary poor visibility, forcing car drivers to use their headlights.

The eruption also resulted in a small flow of volcanic material up to about one kilometre (half a mile) from the crater, Jiji said.

It was the 500th eruption this year of Sakurajima, which is about 950 kilometres southwest of Tokyo. The eruption lasted for about 50 minutes.

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