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27 Nov 2017
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Science minister visits Sakurajima Volcano Research Center (20 August 2017)

On 20 August, Disaster Prevention Research Institute (DPRI) Sakurajima Volcano Research Center (SVRC) received a visit from Yoshimasa Hayashi of the science and education ministry MEXT. SVRC is an outdoor observation base for Sakurajima, Japan's most active volcano, and serves as a national center for interdisciplinary experiments and observation projects.

Arriving at SVRC, Minister Hayashi was greeted by three Kyoto University representatives -- Masanobu Morita, executive vice-president for general affairs and personnel, DPRI Director Hajime Nakagawa, and Professor Naoto Oshiman, who is the deputy director of SVRC -- as well as a fellow MEXT official, Ei Takeuchi, director of the Research and Development Bureau's Earthquake and Disaster-Reduction Research Division.

The Minister received a briefing from Deputy Director Oshiman on some of the ongoing research topics at SVRC, including volcanic eruption mechanisms and how to predict the next eruptions based on them, as well as shallow magma plumbing systems and their structure.

Minister Hayashi then took a 20-minute car ride to the town of Komen, where Sakurajima's third and newest observation tunnel has been in operation since last year. Serving as a guide, SVRC Assistant Professor Keigo Yamamoto introduced him to some of the key features of the facility, including watertube tiltmeters and extensometers. The Minister intently followed the explanations and asked numerous questions.

The final destination of the tour was the Kurokami area, where Mr Hayashi watched an ash plume from Sakurajima's Showa crater rise high into the sky.

In spite of the scorching summer sun, and ash-fall deposits affecting traffic and visibility, Minister Hayashi completed all of the planned activities in an hour as scheduled.

Minister Hayashi (right) being briefed on SRVC

Observing watertube tiltmeters and extensometers in the Komen tunnel

The minister (right) watching an ash plume from Showa crater

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