An 8.9 magnitude earthquake hit northeastern Japan overnight, triggering a 23-foot tsunami in the region and tsunami warnings as far as the entire U.S. West Coast, South America and Canada.
The earthquake, the largest in Japan's history, was followed by at least 19 aftershocks. The aftershocks were felt in dozens of cities and villages along the eastern coastline, including Tokyo, and most were more than 6.0 in magnitude.
The tsunami swept boats, cars, buildings and tons of debris miles inland.
"Our initial assessment indicates that there has already been enormous damage," Chief government spokesman Yukio Edano said. "We will make maximum relief effort based on that assessment."