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Japanese islanders still restless after 5 years

Sun., June 26, 2005

TOKYO – Today will mark the fifth anniversary since the start of volcanic eruptions of Mt. Oyama on Japan’s Miyakejima island.

They resulted in the evacuation of all inhabitants for more than four years.

With the evacuation order lifted in February and the island reopened to tourists in May, residents have been steadily rebuilding their lives. But evacuees from areas with high concentrations of volcanic gas are still spending restless days without permission to return to their own homes.

Residents of areas with high levels of volcanic gas remain in temporary housing even after returning to the island.

The islanders’ hardship began on June 26, 2000, when the Meteorological Agency issued an emergency volcanic alert to warn of a possible eruption on Mt. Oyama. The mountain later erupted several times, and in September, evacuation directives were issued to the residents.

The volcano spewed out 40,000 to 50,000 tons of volcanic gas per day at that time. It now releases between 2,000 to 5,000 tons per day.


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