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Friday, 11 March 2011

Huge tsunami slams coastal Japan after 8.9 magnitude



A massive 8.9 magnitude quake hit northeast Japan Friday, triggering a 10-metre tsunami that swept away everything in its path, including houses, cars, farm buildings on fire and boats, media and witnesses said.

At least one person was killed in Fukushima prefecture, north of Tokyo where four million homes were without power. The quake caused many injuries, fires and a wall of water across the coast, prompting warnings to people to move to higher ground.

There were several strong aftershocks. In the capital Tokyo, buildings shook violently.

TV pictures showed a vast wall of water carrying the debris and even fires across a large swathe of coastal farmland near the city of Sendai, which has a population of one million.

Public broadcaster NHK showed flames and black smoke billowing from a building in Odaiba, a Tokyo suburb, and bullet trains to the north of the country were halted.

Black smoke was also pouring out of an industrial area in Yokohama's Isogo area. TV footage showed boats, cars and trucks floating in water after a small tsunami hit the town of Kamaichi in northern Japan. An overpass, location unknown, appeared to have collapsed into the water.

Kyodo news agency said there were reports of fires in Sendai where waves carried cars across the runway at the airport.

The western prefecture of Wakayama ordered 20,000 people to evacuate after further tsunami warnings.

"WORST IN 20 YEARS"

"The building shook for what seemed a long time and many people in the newsroom grabbed their helmets and some got under

their desks," Reuters correspondent Linda Sieg said in Tokyo.

"It was probably the worst I have felt since I came to Japan more than 20 years ago."

The Tokyo stock market extended losses after the quake. The central bank said it would do everything to ensure financial stability.

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