Tokyo (Xinhua): An 8.8 magnitude earthquake hit Japan’s northeastern Honshu island Friday, killing at least 16 people and injuring numerous others.
Kyodo News said at least 10 people were killed by quake- triggered tsunami in Japan’s Iwate Prefecture.
After a ministerial meeting, Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan called on the public to remain calm in the face of the disaster.
He said the government will make full efforts to deal with the impact of the great quake.
“Our government will make all-out efforts to minimize the damage caused by the earthquake,” Kan said at a news conference after the meeting.
He said that no problems have occurred so far in Japan’s nuclear power stations after an 8.8 magnitude quake shook the northeastern region.
But Japan’s Industry Ministry said the operator of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant reported an abnormality Friday following an 8.8 powerful earthquake which hit a wide area in northeastern Japan including Fukushima Prefecture.
The system to cool reactor cores in case of emergency stopped at the No. 1 and No. 2 reactors of the plant operated by Tokyo Electric Power Co., Kyodo News quoted the ministry as saying.
And the government will hold an emergency meeting on the quake at 7 p.m. local time.
A 10-meter tsunami has washed the port in Sendai city, where many house were flooded with seawater. Meanwhile, the runways of Sendai airport were submerged from tsunami, said local media reports.
An explosion was observed at the Cosmo Oil refinery in Chiba Prefecture following the massive quake.
The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) has upgraded the magnitude of the earthquake from 7.9 to 8.4 and later revised it up to 8.8.
The U.S. Geological Survey reported the earthquake at 8.9 on the Richter scale.
The epicenter the quake, which occurred at 2:46 p.m.(0546 GMT), was located some 130 km east of the Miyagi Prefecture at a depth of 24.4 km under the sea, said the JMA.
After the great quake occurred, all cabinet ministers were summoned to the prime minister’s office and a crisis management team were set up there.
In Tokyo and surrounding areas, up to 4 million homes suffered a power cut.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said the government has dispatched Self-Defense Force troops to Miyagi Prefecture. And the defense ministry sent eight air fighters to check damage in the worst-hit areas.
And the Police Agency will dispatch 900 rescuers to the quake- hit areas in northeastern Japan.
All Shinkansen bullet trains were halted, local media reported, citing JR East.
And Tokyo metropolitan expressways as well as Tokyo subways and suburban rail services were also closed following the quake. But no big collapses were reported in Tokyo expressways.
In Miyagi Prefecture, Sendai airport was closed. A major power outage and gas leaks were reported in a number of areas in Sendai city, capital of the prefecture.
Meanwhile, numerous people were injured, local media reported, citing Miyagi prefecture police.
In Iwate Prefecture, a four-meter-high tsunami was observed and dozens of cars and buildings were washed away.
In Fukushima Prefecture, two nuclear plants on Pacific coast were automatically shut down.
Fires were reported at 48 locations, including at an ironworks in Chiba Prefecture.
The quake affected the nation’s key transportation systems, including Narita airport, which were closed for safety checks of its runways.