The quake struck at a depth of 10 kilometers, centered around Japan's eastern coastal region of Miyagi Prefecture on Honshu Island, about 300 kilometers northeast of the capital Tokyo. A 4-meter high tsunami has washed away cars and tore away buildings along the coast near the epicenter.
A large ship swept away by the tsunami rammed directly into a breakwater in Kesennuma city in Miyagi prefecture. In various locations along Japan's coast, TV footage is showing severe flooding. Officials are trying to assess the damage from the quake but have no immediate details, but authorities expect a great a number of causalities.
The quake that struck 2:46 p.m. local time, Friday was followed by a series of aftershocks, including a 7.4-magnitude, one about 30 minutes later.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii said a tsunami warning was in effect for Japan, Russia, Marcus Island and the Northern Marianas.
A tsunami watch has been issued for Guam, Taiwan island, the Philippines, Indonesia and the U.S. state of Hawaii. In downtown Tokyo, large buildings shook violently and workers poured into the street for safety.
TV footage showed a large building on fire and bellowing smoke in the Odaiba district of Tokyo. In central Tokyo, trains were stopped and passengers walked along the tracks to platforms.
(CNTV.cn March 11, 2011)