Volcanic alert level raised for Mount Hakone near Tokyo

The alert level for Mount Hakone was raised on May 19 after an increase in seismic activity was detected.
The alert level for Mount Hakone was raised on May 19 after an increase in seismic activity was detected.PHOTO: @KYO_NINJA/TWITTER

TOKYO (XINHUA) - The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) on Sunday (May 19) raised its alert level for Mount Hakone as seismic activity has been increasing in the popular hot-spring resort area near Tokyo.

On the JMA's alert scale that peaks at five, the agency raised its warning for the first time since 2015 from 1 to 2, advising people not to approach the volcano's crater.

The agency said it made the decision because the number of volcanic earthquakes increased to 45 on Saturday, compared with zero on the previous day.

The JMA warned that large volcanic rocks could fall around the crater at a valley called Owakudani, about 80km southwest of Tokyo.

After the alert level was raised, the town of Hakone in Kanagawa Prefecture decided to restrict travel around the crater and close a road leading to the area throughout the day.

The operator of Hakone Ropeway also suspended its service running through Owakudani for Sunday.