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Massive Japan earthquake

Japan was struck by a magnitude-8.9 earthquake off its northeastern coast Friday, March 11, 2011, triggering a 23-foot (seven-meter) tsunami that washed away cars and tore away buildings along the coast near the epicenter.

Related story: Earthquake, tsunami devastate Japan


Kyodo News - Associated Press

Waves of tsunami hit residences after a powerful earthquake in Natori, Miyagi prefecture (state), Japan, Friday, March 11, 2011. The largest earthquake in Japan’s recorded history slammed the eastern coast Friday.


A 13-foot tsunami washed away cars and buildings following a massive, magnitude-8.9 earthquake off Japan’s northeastern coast, about six miles down.

Associated Press

Kyodo News - Associated Press

Earthquake-triggered tsumanis sweep shores along Iwanuma in northern Japan on Friday March 11, 2011. The magnitude 8.9 earthquake slammed Japan’s eastern coast Friday, unleashing a 13-foot (4-meter) tsunami that swept boats, cars, buildings and tons of debris miles inland.


Koji Sasahara - Associated Press

Yurikamome train passengers walk on the elevated track towards Shiodome Station in Tokyo near Tokyo Bay Friday, March 11, 2011, shortly after a 8.9-magnitude earthquake has struck off Japan’s northeastern coast.


Police said 200 to 300 bodies were found in the northeastern coastal city of Sendai, the city in Miyagi prefecture, or state, closest to the epicenter. Another 151 were confirmed killed, with 547 missing. Police also said 798 people were injured.

Associated Press

Kyodo News - Associated Press

Houses swallowed by tsunami waves burn in Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture (state) after Japan was struck by a strong earthquake off its northeastern coast Friday, March 11, 2011.


Kyodo News - Associated Press

Light planes and vehicles sit among the debris after they were swept by a tsumani that struck Sendai airport in northern Japan on Friday March 11, 2011. A magnitude 8.9 earthquake slammed Japan’s eastern coast Friday, unleashing a 13-foot (4-meter) tsunami that swept boats, cars, buildings and tons of debris miles inland.


The Yomiuri Shimbun, Yasushi Nagao - Associated Press

A tsunami approaches seashore houses in Kita Ibaraki, Ibaraki Prefecture, northeast of Tokyo, Friday, March 11, 2011 after the largest earthquake in Japan’s recorded history slammed the eastern coast.


The Yomiuri Shimbun, Kenji Tada - Associated Press

Oil refinery facility is on fire in Ichihara, Chiba Prefecture, near Tokyo, Friday, March 11, 2011 after strong earthquakes hit Japan.


A tsunami warning was extended to a number of areas in the Pacific, Southeast Asia and Latin America, including Japan, Russia, Indonesia, New Zealand and Chile. In the Philippines, authorities ordered an evacuation of coastal communities, but no unusual waves were reported.

Associated Press

Kyodo News - Associated Press

Sendai Airport is surrounded by waters in Miyagi prefecture (state), Japan, after a ferocious tsunami spawned by one of the largest earthquakes ever recorded slammed Japan’s eastern coast Friday, March 11, 2011.


Kyodo News - Associated Press

Tsunami waves swirl near a port in Oarai, Ibaraki Prefecture (state) after Japan was struck by a strong earthquake off its northeastern coast Friday, March 11, 2011.


The Yomiuri Shimbun - Associated Press

Fishing boats are damaged in Asahi, Chiba prefecture (state), Japan, after a ferocious tsunami unleashed by Japan’s biggest recorded earthquake slammed into its eastern coast Friday, Friday, March 11, 2011.


Keichi Nakane, The Yomiuri Shimbun - Associated Press

Cars and other Debris swept away by tsunami tidal waves are seen in Kesennuma in Miyagi Prefecture, northern Japan, after strong earthquakes hit the area Friday, March 11, 2011.


Kyodo News - Associated Press

A building is in flames near Sendai airport, Miyagi prefecture (state), Japan, after a powerful earthquake, the largest in Japan’s recorded history, slammed the eastern coasts Friday, March 11, 2011.


Kyodo News - Associated Press

People take shelter at a temporary evacuation center with no electricity Friday night, March 11, 2011 in Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture (state) after Japan was struck by a strong earthquake off its northeastern coast earlier in the day.


Kyodo News - Associated Press

Traffic is jammed on a road in Sendai city, Miyagi prefecture (state), Japan, after a powerful earthquake, the largest in Japan’s recorded history slammed the eastern coasts Friday, March 11, 2011.


Japan lies on the “Ring of Fire” — an arc of earthquake and volcanic zones stretching around the Pacific where about 90 percent of the world’s quakes occur, including the one that triggered the Dec. 26, 2004, Indian Ocean tsunami that killed an estimated 230,000 people in 12 nations. A magnitude-8.8 temblor that shook central Chile in February 2010 also generated a tsunami and killed 524 people.

Associated Press

The Yomiuri Shimbun, Reiri Kurihara - Associated Press

A child is held by a woman in a disaster sheet at a temporary shelter set up at Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo Friday, March 11, 2011. A powerful tsunami spawned by the largest earthquake in Japan’s recorded history slammed the eastern coast Friday, sweeping away boats, cars, homes and people as widespread fires burned out of control.


Kyodo News - Associated Press

Passengers wait for the resumption of train service which was suspended due to Friday’s earthquake, at a station in Tokyo, Japan, Saturday, March 12, 2011.


Hiroto Sekiguchi, The Yomiuri Shimbun - Associated Press

A plane and vehicles are submerged in debris washed away by a devastating tsunami in Natori city, Miyagi Prefecture, northern Japan, Saturday morning, March 12, 2011, one day after strong earthquakes hit the area.


The Yomiuri Shimbun, Yasushi Kanno - Associated Press

An elderly man is being carried by Self-Defense Force member in the tsunami-torn Natori city, Miyagi Prefecture, northern Japan, Saturday morning, March 12, 2011, one day after strong earthquakes hit the area.


Highways to the worst-hit coastal areas buckled. Telephone lines snapped. Train service was suspended in northeastern Japan and in Tokyo, which normally serves 10 million people a day. Untold numbers of people were stranded in stations or roaming the streets. Tokyo’s Narita airport was closed indefinitely.

Associated Press

Kyodo News - Associated Press

Black smoke rises from burning buildings in a factory zone in Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture, Saturday morning, March 12, 2011, after Japan’s biggest recorded earthquake slammed into its eastern coast Friday.


Kyodo News - Associated Press

A helicopter hovers to conduct rescue operation in Sandai, northern Japan Saturday, March 12, 2011 after Japan’s biggest recorded earthquake slammed into its eastern coast Friday.


Kyodo News - Associated Press

Gas storage facilities burn in Tagajo, Miyagi Prefecture, Saturday morning, March 12, 2011 after Japan’s biggest recorded earthquake slammed into its eastern coast Friday.


Kyodo News - Associated Press

Smoke rises from burning facilities in an industrial zone in Tagajo, Miyagi Prefecture, Saturday morning, March 12, 2011 after Japan’s biggest recorded earthquake slammed into its eastern coast Friday.


Japan declared states of emergency for five nuclear reactors at two power plants after the units lost cooling ability in the aftermath of Friday’s powerful earthquake. Thousands of residents were evacuated as workers struggled to get the reactors under control to prevent meltdowns.

Associated Press

The Yomiuri Shimbun, Atsushi Takedazu - Associated Press

Firefighters, bottom, hose over still smoldering cars among hundreds vehicles being swept and caught fire following a devastating tsunami in Hitachi, Ibaraki Prefecture, northeast of Tokyo, Saturday morning, March 12, 2011, a day after strong earthquakes hit the area.


Kyodo News - Associated Press

A sufferer is rescued by helicopter from a roof of an elementary school in Sendai, northern Japan Saturday, March 12, 2011 after Japan’s biggest recorded earthquake slammed into its eastern coast Friday.


Kyodo News - Associated Press

A vessel sits after it was washed away by tsunami into urban area in Kesennuma, Miyagi, northern Japan Saturday, March 12, 2011 after Japan’s biggest recorded earthquake slammed into its eastern coast Friday.


Kyodo News - Associated Press

Destroyed oil tank at generating power plant in Minami Soma, Fukushima, northern Japan is pictured Saturday, March 12, 2011 after Japan’s biggest recorded earthquake slammed into its eastern coast Friday.


Kyodo News - Associated Press

People wait to be rescued on the roof of buildings in Kesennuma, Miyazaki, northern Japan Saturday, March 12, 2011 after Japan’s biggest recorded earthquake slammed into its eastern coast Friday.


Kyodo News - Associated Press

Cargo containers are seen scattered following Japan’s biggest recorded earthquake in Sendai, northern Japan, on Saturday, March 12, 2011.


Kyodo News - Associated Press

Residents walk through urban area devastated by tsunami in Natori, Miyagi, northern Japan Saturday, March 12, 2011 after Japan’s biggest recorded earthquake slammed into its eastern coast Friday.


Residents in a 12-mile radius of the Fukushima Daiichi power plant are being evacuated because the plant began releasing radiation after Friday’s earthquake knocked out its cooling system.

Associated Press

The Yomiuri Shimbun, Kaname Yoneyama - Associated Press

Police officers wearing gas masks patrol in the area of the Fukushima power plant’s Unit 1 in Okumamachi, Fukushima Prefecture (state), northern Japan, Saturday, March 12, 2011, amid fears that a part of the plant could meltdown after being hit by a powerful earthquake and tsunami Friday.


Yomiuri Shiimbun, Shuhei Yokoyama - Associated Press

Police officers and others wearing protective gear head to the area of the Fukushima power plant’s Unit 1, in Minami Soma, Fukushima, northern Japan, Saturday, March 12, 2011, amid fears that a part of the plant could meltdown after being hit by Friday’s powerful earthquake and tsunami.


Junji Kurokawa - Associated Press

A man takes a picture of the aftermath of a tsunami following Friday’s massive earthquake in Sendai, Miyagi prefecture, northern Japan, Saturday, March 12, 2011.


Kyodo News - Associated Press

Minamisanriku town is submerged after Friday’s strong earthquake-triggered tsunami in Miyagi prefecture, northern Japan, Saturday, March 12, 2011.


U.S. Navy, Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Fidel C. Hart - Associated Press

In this Saturday, March 12, 2011 photo released by the U.S. Navy, sailors aboard the U.S. 7th Fleet command ship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) in the South China Sea stand-by to move pallets of humanitarian relief supplies across the ship’s flight deck during an underway replenishment with the Military Sealift Command fleet replenishment oiler USNS Rappahannock (T-AO 204), not pictured. Blue Ridge is ensuring the crew is ready if directed to assist with earthquake and tsunami relief operations in Japan.


U.S. Navy, Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Fidel C. Hart - Associated Press

In this Saturday, March 12, 2011 photo released by the U.S. Navy, sailors aboard the U.S. 7th Fleet command ship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) in the South China Sea move pallets of humanitarian relief supplies across the ship’s flight deck during an underway replenishment with the Military Sealift Command fleet replenishment oiler USNS Rappahannock (T-AO 204), not pictured. Blue Ridge is ensuring the crew is ready if directed to assist with earthquake and tsunami relief operations in Japan.


Asahi Shimbun, Noboru Tomura - Associated Press

A resident is rescued from debris in Natori, Miyagi, northern Japan Saturday, March 12, 2011 after one of the country’s strongest earthquakes ever recorded hit its eastern coast on Friday.


Asahi Shimbun, Shiro Nishihata - Associated Press

People who were isolated at an elementary school, head for safety place in Sendai, northern Japan Saturday, March 12, 2011 after one of the country’s strongest earthquakes ever recorded hit its eastern coast on Friday.


Yomiuri Shiimbun, Yasushi Kanno - Associated Press

A woman embraces her grandchild as they were reunited at a shelter in Natori, Miyagi, northern Japan Saturday, March 12, 2011 following Friday’s catastrophic earthquake and tsunami.


Tokyo Shimbun, Koki Aijichi - Associated Press

A sufferer, stranded inside a damaged building, asks for help in Minami Sanriku, Miyagi, northern Japan Saturday, March 12, 2011 following Friday’s catastrophic earthquake and tsunami.


Kyodo News - Associated Press

Firefighting ships water over burning oil refinery tanks in Ichihara in Chiba Prefecture (State), east of Tokyo, Saturday, March 12, 2011, one day after a giant quake and tsunami struck the country’s northeastern coast.


Kyodo News - Associated Press

Debris of damaged houses and others float in the waters off Ishinomaki in Miyagi Prefecture (State) Saturday, March 12, 2011, one day after a giant quake and tsunami struck the country’s northeastern coast.

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