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The biggest earthquake to hit Japan since records began 140 years ago struck the northeast coast on Friday at 2:46 p.m. local time, triggering a 32 foot tsunami that swept away everything in its path, including houses, ships, cars and farm buildings on fire.
[Naoto Kan, Japanese Prime Minister]:
"To all the people of Japan, as you have seen on TV and heard on the radio, today at 14:46 there was a massive earthquake that hit with a magnitude of 8.2."
The quake was later verified to have a magnitude of 8.9 by the U.S. Geological Survey. It caused many injuries, sparked fires and the wall of water, prompting warnings to people to move to higher ground in coastal areas.
"I just came out immediately."
At least 22 people have been killed in the quake and tsunami, according to the Kyodo news agency. The extent of the destruction, and the forecast for the tsunami, suggested the death toll could rise significantly.
[Yukio Edano, Chief Cabinet Secretary of Japan]:
"I wanted to tell you that currently, we are assuming that there is devastating damage, and the government is doing all we can to rescue and to prevent further damage."
Around 4.4 million homes are without power in northern Japan. A hotel collapsed in the city of Sendai and people were feared buried in the rubble.
Damages to buildings Fukushima can be seen everywhere. Residents in shock were rushing to nearby convenience stores to purchase necessities.
Prime Minister Naoto Kan and members of Parliament felt the tremors during a Parliament session in Tokyo.
Kan stayed seated during the quake as some members of Parliament rushed next to him.
He was evacuated soon after the quake stopped.