One-hundred-and-forty-two people are confirmed dead and more than 500 are missing across several prefectures hit by Friday’s earthquake.
The NHK reports that the scope of the devastation is not clear. Police say 200 to 300 unidentified bodies have been found in Miyagi Prefecture. They say victims may have been hit by a tsunami.
At least 57 people are dead in Iwate Prefecture. Police there say many people are missing in coastal areas.
Forty-eight people have been confirmed dead and more than 370 are missing in Fukushima Prefecture.
More than 10 people are reported to have died in Tokyo and neighboring prefectures.
Japan’s Self Defense Forces say fire is spreading across wide areas of Miyagi Prefecture, engulfing houses and apartment blocks.
The offshore quake measuring 8.9 magnitudes has unleashed walls of water that swept across rice fields, engulfing towns, dragging houses on to highways and tossing cars and boats above.
Tsunami warning has been issued to 50 countries and territories and minor waves have now begun hitting the Philippines. Tsunami waves have also reached the Hawaiian island chain. In Hawaii people have been evacuated to higher ground and it radio is reporting a 6feethigh wave hitting the beaches in the south. People there are waiting to see if further waves arrive. Auckland-based geologists say tsunami wave is on its way towards New Zealand at 500 or 600 miles an hour.
California emergency management agency spokesman says the tsunami could generate waves of up to 6ft when it hits parts of the state’s northern coast. He said it is very possible there may be some evacuations there. The tsunami is also expected to reach Mexico’s coastline within hours. Ports in the state of Guerrero are now closed. Ecuador has now ordered preventive coastal evacuations. To the north, the Russian authorities said small waves had reached the Kurile Islands. Taiwan reported minor tsunami. Indonesia’s eastern areas including Papua, Maluku and Sulawesi are on guard.
The offshore quake measuring 8.9 magnitude that struck at 2:46 p.m. local time prompted issue of a tsunami warning. The quake’s epicentre was 373 kilometres away from Tokyo. But residents there continued to feel aftershocks hours after the quake. More than 30 aftershocks followed, with the strongest measuring at 7.1.
At Tokyo Station, one of Japan’s busiest subway stations, shaken commuters grabbed one another to stay steady as the ground shook. Dazed residents poured into the streets after offices and schools were closed. Children cried. Residents said though earthquakes are common in Japan, Friday’s stunned most people.
The quake toppled cars off bridges and into waters underneath. Waves of debris flowed like lava across farmland, pushing boats, houses and trailers. About 4 million homes had no power in Tokyo and surrounding areas. Shenza Chen of the U.S. Geological Survey says at such a shallow depth, earth quake creates a lot of energy.
Firefighters battled a blaze at an oil refinery in Chiba prefecture near Tokyo.