TOKYO — Japan was struck by a magnitude 8.9 earthquake off its northeastern coast today, unleashing a 13-foot tsunami that washed away cars and tore away buildings along the coast near the epicenter. There were reports of injuries in Tokyo.
In various locations along Japan’s coast, TV footage showed massive damage from the tsunami, with dozens of cars, boats, and even buildings being carried along by water. A large ship was swept away by the tsunami rammed a breakwater in Kesennuma city in Miyagi prefecture, according to footage.
Officials were trying to assess damage, injuries and deaths.
The quake that struck at 2:46 p.m. was followed by a series of powerful aftershocks, including a 7.4-magnitude one about 30 minutes later. The US Geological Survey upgraded the strength of the first quake to a magnitude 8.9, while Japan’s meteorological agency measured it at 7.9.
The meteorological agency issued a tsunami warning for the entire Pacific coast of Japan. NHK was warning those near the coast to get to safer ground.
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, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Hawaii.
The quake struck at a depth of six miles, about 80 miles off the eastern coast, the agency said.