A devastating tsunami, triggered by Japan's biggest earthquake on record, appears set to kill at least 1,000 people along the country's northeast coast.
In the wake of Friday's magnitude 8.9 tremor, a 10-meter-high tidal wave swept across large sections of the nation's north. Many people are missing, and casualties are expected to rise sharply.
In the early hours of Saturday, a magnitude 6.6 earthquake struck the central, mountainous part of Japan -- far from the original tremor's epicenter. It was not immediately clear if this latest seismic shift is related.
Friday 2:46 PM, local time a monstrous series of jolts rock northeast Japan. And, a series of powerful aftershocks follow.
Reporter of Kyodo News Agency said, "We are in Yokohama City, but it is shaking a lot, and the store signs are falling, and people are running out from the building."
Cameraman of Kyodo News Agency said, "Darn! It's dangerous! Get away, get away, get away from the building."
A massive surge of debris-filled water swept away buildings, cars, and ships ... and flooded many cities.
The country's meteorological agency issued a tsunami warning for the entire Pacific Coast of Japan.
After the disaster, all Cabinet ministers were summoned to Prime Minister Naoto Kan's office, and a crisis management team was set up.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano says the government dispatched Self-Defense Force troops to Miyagi Prefecture. Eight fighter jets were scrambled to check damage in the worst-hit areas.
Nine-hundred rescuers will be dispatched to quake-hit areas in northeastern Japan.
Fires also broke out in 48 locations, including at the turbine building of the Onagawa Nuclear Power Plant in Miyagi Prefecture.
The quake has disrupted power, and more than four million homes in northern Japan are currently without electricity.
In Fukushima Prefecture, two nuclear plants along the Pacific Coast automatically shut down.
An explosion also occurred at the Cosmo Oil Refinery in Chiba Prefecture.
In Miyagi Prefecture, Sendai Airport is forced to close. Power outages and gas leaks are also reported in a number of areas in Sendai City.
Tokyo's metropolitan expressways, as well as its subways and suburban rail services, were closed following the quake.
The Bank of Japan, which has been struggling to boost the sluggish economy, says it will do its utmost to ensure financial market stability, following the yen and Japanese shares fall on stock markets, following the catastrophe.