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Flight disruptions as Japan’s ‘James Bond’ volcano erupts

The volcano lair in You Only Live Twice


Flights in and out of Kagoshima airport were cancelled as Mount Shinmoe on Kyushu, Japan erupted yesterday, sending ash and smoke hundreds of metres into the sky.


According to Kagoshima airport’s website, all arriving and departing flights were diverted or cancelled from 3pm on 6 March.


A quick look at Japan Airlines’ site shows that while flights to Kagoshima were cancelled yesterday, those from Tokyo Haneda at least, have landed, though strong winds this afternoon may require a diversion to Fukuoka airport.


“Flights to/from Kagoshima Airport are expected to operate as usual so far, however, they are still subject to volcanic eruption,” an alert from the airline reads.


Given the volcano is in a relatively rural area, and no injuries or damage has been reported, it is unlikely to impact largely on travel, unless you’re a huge Bond fan wanting to hike to the crater.


The volcano, which hasn’t erupted for six years, is probably one of the world’s most famous, given it played a starring role in the 1967 James Bond film, You Only Live Twice. The volcano was the lair of fictional terrorist organisation SPECTRE (and later spoofed in The Simpsons as the volcano lair for super-nice villain Hank Scorpio) as a rocket launch site.


The country’s Meteorological Agency issued a Level 3 warning following the eruption, which restricts access to the mountain and urges evacuation preparations be made for those who may need special consideration (Level 5 is a call to evacuate), the Japan Times reported.


A senior official of a local tourism association Yoshinari Imanishi told the Times he was concerned about the possible ramifications of the eruption.


“We were hit by cancellations of accommodations six years ago. I hope [the eruption] will not affect autumn viewing season.”


Mount Shinmoe last erupted in 2011, prompting another Level 3 warning.


Written by: Gaya Avery
Published: 7 March 2018

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