Our prayers are out to all the People in Japan that are affected in some way with this distruction
Huge tsunami kills hundreds in Japan, sweeps across Pacific
The biggest earthquake on record to hit Japan rocked the northeast coast on Friday, triggering a 10-meter tsunami that killed hundreds of people and swept away everything in its path, including houses, ships and cars.
The Red Cross in Geneva said the wall of water was higher than some Pacific islands and a tsunami warning was issued for almost the entire Pacific basin, although alerts were lifted for some countries, including Taiwan, Australia and New Zealand.
Up to 300 bodies were found in the coastal city of Sendai, media said. NHK television said the victims appeared to have drowned. The extent of the destruction along a lengthy stretch of coastline suggested the death toll could rise significantly.
Some 3,000 residents living near a nuclear plant in Fukushima prefecture, north of Tokyo, were told to evacuate but the government said no radiation was leaking. It said the evacuation was a precaution after a reactor cooling malfunction.
Other nuclear power plants and oil refineries were shut down after the 8.9 magnitude quake, while one refinery was ablaze. A major explosion hit a petrochemical complex in Miyagi prefecture after the quake, Kyodo said.
Political leaders pushed for an emergency budget to help fund relief efforts after Prime Minister Naoto Kan asked them to "save the country", Kyodo news agency reported.
Stunning TV footage showed a muddy wall of water carrying cars and wrecked homes at high speed across farmland near Sendai, home to one million people and which lies 300 km (180 miles) northeast of Tokyo. Ships had been flung onto a harbor wharf, where they lay helplessly on their side.
The quake, the most powerful since Japan started keeping records 140 years ago, sparked at least 80 fires in cities and towns along the coast, Kyodo news agency said.
A ship carrying 100 people had been swept away by the tsunami, Kyodo said. One train was unaccounted for.