The biggest earthquake on record to hit Japan in 140 years sent stock markets across the globe sharply lower, while the yen and oil prices also fell.
The quake was followed closely by a 10-metre tsunami that killed hundreds of people and swept away everything in its path. The death toll is expected to rise.
Auto plants, electronics factories and oil refineries were shut across large parts of the country. Several airports, including Tokyo's Narita, were closed and rail services halted. All of the country's ports were closed.
While it is still very early to tell what the impact of the Japanese earthquake will be, it is likely that the events will not derail the country's stock market over the longer term, Olgerd Eichler, co-head of asset management at MainFirst Asset Management, told CNBC Friday.
The disaster is another challenge to Japan's recovery, but it may provide a jolt to the economy over the short term, Lawrence Summers, president emeritus of Harvard University and former director of the White House National Economic Council, told CNBC.
Historically, big disasters have rarely caused big drops in stock markets immediately after they happened, but their consequences on the economies and markets were felt long after.