Japanese police say 40 people have died and 39 are
missing in the earthquake and tsunami that hit the northern part of
The quake unleashed a 23-foot (7-meter) tsunami that swept boats, cars, buildings and tons of debris miles inland.
Fires triggered by Friday's quake are burning out of control up and down the coast, including one at an oil refinery.
The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake was a magnitude 8.9, while Japan's meteorological agency measured it at 8.8. It struck at 2:46 p.m. and was followed by more than 20 aftershocks, including several at least 6.3, the size of the quake that struck New Zealand recently.
A Tsunami warning expands to entire US West Coast following the massive earthquake. Residents in Hawaii have already begun evacuating after authorities. Officials say a 6-foot Tsunami is expected to hit the islands around 12:30AM local time.
Japan's prime minister says the 8.9-magnitude quake caused "major damage" in northeastern Japan.
But Naoto Kan said nuclear power facilities in the area were not damaged and there was no radiation leakage.
The offshore quake triggered a 13-foot tsunami wave that washed away cars and buildings following the massive earthquake.
TV footage showed severe flooding, with dozens of cars, boats
and even buildings being carried along by waters. Injuries were
reported in Tokyo.
A large ship swept away by the tsunami rammed directly into a breakwater in Miyagi prefecture, according to footage on public broadcaster NHK.
The quake was followed by a series of aftershocks, including a 7.4-magnitude earthquake about 30 minutes after the first. The government's top spokesman, Yukio Edano, said that the
country was sending troops to the quake-hit area to join relief
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii has widened its tsunami warning to include Hawaii and the rest of the Pacific
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