Rescue efforts continued in shell-shocked Japan on Friday night following the country's devastating earthquake and tsunami.
And a Japanese coast guard official says a search is under way for a ship carrying 80 dock workers that was swept away when the tsunami struck.
In California, many beaches were closed in anticipation of the tsunami waves of six feet expected to reach the West Coast of the US. The tsunami hit Hawaii on the southern beaches of the island of Oahu, but there were no initial reports of damage. The quake, one of the strongest ever recorded, left many people injured, police said, and unleashed a 10-meter high tsunami and widespread flooding.


Japanese TV pictures showed the tsunami water carrying debris, including cars and trucks, as well as flames rising into the sky near the capital. Such strong tremors are relatively common in the Pacific Ring of Fire, a volcanic belt which surrounds the Pacific Ocean, giving rise to earthquakes and tsunamis.
Hundreds are reported dead in the temblor and tsunami, with officials believing the death toll could rise to more than 1,000 in one of the country's worst-ever natural disasters.
Police are reporting the discovery of hundreds of bodies in the wake of the natural disaster that struck the northeastern part of the country. According to the Yomiuri newspaper, they were only designed to measure up to 10 meters -- so it is it likely the tsunami was even higher.


He said the world was "shocked and saddened" by the images of the disaster, and offered whatever help the UN could provide.
According to government spokesman Christoph Steegmans, Merkel wrote to Prime Minister Naoto Kan to express her dismay at the disaster, offering her sympathy to the families of the victims and wishing a speedy recovery for the injured.



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