A massive earthquake with an estimated magnitude of 8.8 struck off the northern coast of Japan on Friday, violently shaking tall buildings in Tokyo and triggering tsunami. The earthquake was the biggest recorded in Japan since 1923, Japan Meteorological Agency officials said.
But one police official in Sendai’s Wakabayashi Ward reported that between 200 and 300 people had apparently drowned.
Deaths were reported in nine prefectures, including Iwate, Fukushima and Miyagi, according to the Fire and Disaster Management Agency and prefectural police departments. The meteorological agency put the epicenter of the quake 130 kilometers off the eastern coast of Miyagi Prefecture, which is part of the Tohoku region.
The temblor hit at 2:46 p.m. and was followed by strong aftershocks.