Japan's volcano in spectacular eruption

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

The eruption of the 1,117m Mount Sakurajima near Kagoshima city took place around 4:30pm (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 from the crater, Jiji said.

It was the 500th eruption this year of Sakurajima, which is about 950km south-west of Tokyo. The eruption lasted for about 50 minutes.