Japan has been hit by the largest earthquake in the country’s history, according to local media reports, with extensive damage reported in the north-east of the country. Reports are indicating substantial destruction, with a number of aftershocks and tsunamis inflicting further, ongoing damage.
A tsunami warning has been issued for the whole Pacific basin.
According to the RMS, the strong earthquake occurred offshore of Japan’s main island of Honshu.
The United States Geological Survey (USGS) has reported a fixed focal depth of 8.8miles at approximately 256 miles northeast of Tokyo.
According to the USGS, 14 earthquakes of 4.5Mw or greater have occurred since the quake.
The country’s northern region was expecting a significant number of casualties and a tsunami warning was issued by several countries including Russia, Indonesia, Mexico and Taiwan.
According to Reuters, the earthquake, the biggest to hit Japan in 140 years, had triggered a 10-metre-high tsunami that “swept away everything in its path, including houses, cars and farm buildings on fire”.
“The Philippines, Taiwan and Indonesia all issued tsunami alerts, reviving memories of the giant tsunami which struck Asia in 2004. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre issued alerts for countries to the west and across the Pacific as far away as Colombia and Peru."
The earthquake is stronger than last year’s Chile event.