Tonga volcano eruption triggers evacuation advisories, metre-high waves in Japan

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A local resident watches the coastal area from Hiyoriyama Park after a tsunami warning was issued for coastal towns in northeastern Japan after an underwater volcano eruption on the island of Tonga at the South Pacific, in Ishinimaki, Miyagi prefecture, Japan, in this photo taken by Kyodo January 16, 2022. Mandatory credit Kyodo/via REUTERS

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TOKYO, Jan 16 (Reuters) - Hundreds of thousands of Japanese citizens were advised to evacuate on Sunday as waves of more than a metre hit coastal areas, public broadcaster NHK reported, after the eruption of an underwater volcano off Tonga triggered tsunami warnings.

Around 230,000 people were advised to evacuate across eight prefectures due to the tsunami risk, NHK reported. The alert included areas hit by Japan's deadly 2011 tsunami.

Ten boats were capsized in Kochi prefecture on Shikoku island in southern Japan, NHK said, and Japan Airlines (9201.T) cancelled 27 flights at airports across the country.

The overnight disruption caused delays to rail and postal services in some areas, Kyodo News reported, with some residents passing a cold night after evacuating to higher ground.

A red tsunami warning - the second-highest in Japan's domestic scale - for Iwate prefecture in northern Japan was lifted late in the morning local time, NHK reported, with the less severe yellow tsunami advisory in place along Japan's eastern coast lifted at 2:00 pm (0500 GMT) local time.

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Reporting by Sam Nussey; Editing by Tom Hogue and Kenneth Maxwell

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