At least nine people have been injured in a volcanic eruption near a ski resort in central Japan, officials said.
The Japanese military said six soldiers who were among about 30 on ski training were buried by an avalanche, but they had all been pulled out of the snow.
Mount Shirane, at a height of 2,160 meters, is located on the border of Gunma and Nagano prefectures.
An entry ban has been enacted around the crater for two kilometers, and were telling residents to be on the lookout for any fallout from the volcano. Snow conditions and seismic activity are some of the potential causes of an avalanche.
Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera told reporters that the seven people trapped by the avalanche near a ski resort were all rescued, but some of the six soldiers suffered broken bones.
"We're now discussing how we can evacuate them", the official said.
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About 80 skiers are taking refuge at a gondola station at the top of the ski slope, where the gondola has been suspended since the eruption, according to Tobe, the fire department official.
The slopes were filled with volcanic ash and rocks and rescuers were considering whether using snowmobiles to reach the stranded skiers was safe.
Japanese media said as many as 15 had been injured, some of them hurt by falling volcanic rocks that also reportedly damaged roofs in the vicinity.
The most powerful explosion in recent years was the 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo, about 100 kilometres northwest of Manila, which killed more than 800 people.
Japan sits on the Pacific "Ring of Fire" and is prone to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.