The biggest earthquake to hit Japan in 140 years, measured 9.0 on the Richter scale according to the U.S. Geological Service. The quake created a 10-meter Tsunami that washed away houses, cars and boats.
Here are scenes from the devastation, the rescue efforts and the resulting nuclear crisis.
Updated 16 March 2011
Japanese military carry coffins for burial at a temporary burial ground March 25, 2011 in Higashi Matsushima, Japan.
A temporary house for evacuees is transported out from a large ferry boat on the back of a flatbed truck at the port in Sendai in Miyagi prefecture on March 25, 2011.
Officers of Rizhao Enter-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau check radiation levels of fish from Japan on March 24, 2011 in Rizhao, Shandong Province of China.
Earthquake victims gather at the evacuation center in Kamaishi on March 24, 2011 in Iwate Prefecture, Japan.
The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force hovercraft carries fuel and relief supply to Ishinomaki Port on March 20, 2011 in Ishinomaki, Miyagi, Japan.
A young child evacuee is checked for radiation levels after arriving from Japan at Kbely Airport on March 17, 2011 in Prague, Czech Republic.
16-year-old Japanese citizen Jin Abe is rescued from her destroyed house 9 days after the 9.0 magnitude earthquake and tsunami on March 20, 2011 in Ishinomaki, Miyagi, Japan. Jin was extracted from the rubble of a house along with his 80 year old grandmother after the tsunami destroyed their town.
Local residents receive radiation exposure checks on March 17, 2011 in Nihonmatsu, Fukushima, Japan.
Policemen check cars for victims in Minamisanriku, Miyagi prefecture on March 18, 2011.
People line up at the ticket counter to buy tickets for the earliest possible flight as they attempt to evecuate from Japan at Narita International Airport on March 18, 2011.
Dozens of coffins are pictured on the floor of a hall in the town of Rifu in Miyagi prefecture on March 18, 2011.
Medical staff work at a shelter in Rikuzentakata, Iwate prefecture on March 18, 2011.
This aerial shot shows a Japanese Self Defence Force's CH-47 Chinook helicopter holding more than seven tons of water each with large buckets from the sea near Natori in Miyagi prefecture on March 17, 2011.
Japanese rescuers search through debris in front of a large grounded ship for bodies in Kesennuma, Miyagi prefecture on March 17, 2011.
Japanese Self Defence Force soldiers comb through the rubble of a building destroyed in the March 11 tsunami in the city of Kesennuma, in Miyagi prefecture on March 17, 2011.
Japanese citizens stand in line for gasoline at a filling station in Ichinoseki, Japan
Japanese military helicopters dumped water from huge buckets onto the stricken Fukushima nuclear power plant in a bid to douse radioactive fuel rods.
A Rescue worker wipes his forehead after carrying a body from the rubble of a village destroyed by the devastating earthquake, fires and tsunami March 16, 2011 in Kesennuma, Miyagi province, Japan.
Troops from US Forces Japan arrive at the Japanese Self Defence Force Matsushima air base in Higashi Matsushima in Miyagi prefecture on March 16, 2011 to help with the rescue operations.
Rescue workers carry a body from the rubble of a village destroyed by the devastating earthquake, fires and tsunami March 16, 2011 in Kesennuma, Miyagi province, Japan.
People take shelter at an evacuation centre in Natori, Miyagi prefecture on March 16, 2011.
Japanese rescue workers carry a body from the rubble of a village destroyed by the devastating earthquake and tsunami on March 15, 2011 in Rikuzentakata, Miyagi province, Japan.
A woman walks past a tsunami collapsed building in Ishonomaki, Miyagi prefecture on March 15, 2011.
US rescue workers check rubble for survivors in Ofunato while conducting operations in the devastated city on March 15, 2011.
This aerial shot shows a boat sitting on top of a building amid a sea of debris in Otsuchi town in Iwate prefecture on March 14, 2011.
In this satellite view, Sendai Port on March 12, 2011 shows damage visible from space. The orange and multi-colored blocks seen in the images are cargo shipping containers.
Japanese residents queue up to receive aid supplies in the devastated city of Sendai, Miyagi prefecture on March 14, 2011.
This aerial view taken on March 14, 2011 during an AFP-chartered flight shows a man (bottom) walking past a Japanese Air Self Defence Force plane pushed into a hangar by the tsunami at a base in Higashimatsushima in Miyagi prefecture three days after the disaster.
Residents look at the damage caused by the tsunami in the town of Ofunato in Iwate prefecture on March 14, 2011. Economists say it is still too early to assess the cost of the destruction from the disaster.
An aerial view of tsunami damage and flooding in Natori city, Miyagi prefecture.
Residents eat emergency rations in a candle lit shelter after leaving their tsunami devastated areas, in Minamisanriku, Miyagi prefecture on March 15, 2011.
Smoke billows from fires raging at the port in Tagajo, Miyagi prefecture on March 13, 2011 following the massive earthquake and tsunami from March 11.
Koriyama fire department staff check radiation levels of rescue personnel in Koriyama city in Fukushima prefecture on March 13, 2011.
Debris lie strewn across a large area of land Natori City, Miyagi prefecture on March 14, 2011. .
Kiyomi Kimura (R) hugs her daughter Manami Numakura (L) after Numakura found her mother at a shelter in the city of Ishinomaki in Miyagi prefecture on March 15, 2011. The human toll of the disaster has been devastating for families in Japan, but some have been lucky enough to reunite with their loved ones.
Local residents walk on roads covered with mud and debris in Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture, on March 14, 2011.
Damaged houses, cars and debris is virtually all that is left after in Kesennuma, Miyagi, Japan.
Aftermath of the tsunami that devastated the Kesennuma port in Miyagai Prefecture, Japan.
A Self Defence soldier smiles as he holds a four-month-old baby who survived the recent tsunami with her family at Ishinomaki city in Miyagi prefecture on March 14, 2011.
Stunning destruction caused by the tsunami at Kesennuma port in Miyagai Prefecture, Japan following the killer earthquake leaves the local residences in ruins.
Rescue workers search for bodies under an upturned house after the recent tsunami and earthquake in Natori City in Miyage prefecture on March 14, 2011.
Chinese rescuers prepare to board a plane at Beijing Capital International Airport on February 24, 2011 in Beijing, China. The Chinese International Rescue Team including 15 members left for the quake-hit region in Japan Sunday morning.
Waves of the tsunami as they prepare to hit residences in Natori, Miyagi prefecture, Japan.
In this video image taken from Japan's NHK TV, a tsunami surge sweeps cars, boats and other debris against a building in Miyaku City, Iwate Prefecture Japan. Fires triggered by the quake burned out of control up and down the coast.
Japan Ground Self-Defense Force members continue rescue work in the aftermath of the earthquake and resulting tsunami.
Local residents with spare gas tanks for their vehicles wait to refuel at a gas station in Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture, on March 13, 2011 in the aftermath of the massive earthquake.
Houses were swallowed by tsunami waves as fires burned in Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture after the strong earthquake struck off Japan's northeastern coast.
A person who is believed to be have been contaminated with radiation, wrapped with a blanket, is carried to ambulance at a radiation treatment centre in Nihonmatsu city in Fukushima prefecture on March 13, 2011.
An aerial view shows tsunami damage and flooding in Natori city, Miyagi prefecture.
Fishing boats and vehicles are shown being carried away by a tsunami wave at Onahama port in Iwaki city, in Fukushima prefecture, northern Japan.
This aerial shot shows houses ablaze after being hit by a tsunami at Natori city in Miyagi prefecture.
Rescue service members search for missing people in Natori city, Miyagi prefecture on March 12, 2011.
A businessman walks past a share prices board in Tokyo on March 14, 2011 showing a drop in the markets following the first full day of trading after the events on March 11. Tokyo shares plunged almost six percent by the afternoon as investors reacted to the biggest earthquake in Japan's history, a devastating tsunami and an unfolding nuclear emergency.
A tidal wave smashed many vehicles and houses at Kesennuma city in Miyagi prefecture, northern Japan.
Damaged cars and debris litter an area of Tagajo city, Miyagi prefecture on March 12, 2011.
An aerial view shows debris that remained on the ground after a tsunami wave hit Hitachinaka city in Ibaraki prefecture.
Soldiers pull a boat across floodwater as they help to evacuate residents of Tagajo city, Miyagi prefecture.
Residents check the damage done to a road and house in Sukagawa city, Fukushima prefecture, in northern Japan.
Cars and debris litter an area of Sendai city, Miyagi prefecture.
This aerial shot shows boats being carried away at a flooded marina in Hitachinaka city after a tsunami hit. The massive earthquake unleashed a tsunami that tossed ships inland.
Vehicles hang on the edge of a collapsed road at a carpark in Yabuki, in southern Fukushima Prefecture.
In this aerial image, refinery plants of Cosmo Oil Co., Ltd are shown on fire after the earthquake in Ichihara, Chiba, Japan.
Commuters line up for bus services due to the Odakyu Machida Station is closed after the goverment announced to start the rotated power outage in the Kanto region on March 14, 2011 in Tokyo, Japan.
People continue to work in an office after tremors from a massive off-shore earthquake shook the building and knocked over a row of cabinets in Tokyo.
Vehicles are crushed by a collapsed wall at a carpark in Mito city in Ibaraki prefecture.
Water from the massive tsunami remained on the streets of Hakodate city in Japan's northern island of Hokkaido.
The remains of a supermarket in Yabuki, in southern Fukushima Prefecture.
The owner of a ceramic shop checks his damaged wares following the earthquake. Earthquakes are common in Japan, one of the most seismically active areas, but the latest tremor shocked and terrified citizens.
Smoke rises from a construction site following the destructive earthquake. A major steel plant was also reported to have caught fire.
Ambulances gather outside the Kudan Kaikan hall where the ceiling of a school collapsed.
Residents of Sendai city, evacuate to a nearby park. A hotel collapsed in the city with people feared trapped in the rubble.
Black smoke rises from an oil industrial complex caused by the earthquake in Ichihara city, Chiba prefecture.
A shop owner chats with a neighbor in front of a collapsed road during the aftermath of the massive earthquake.
Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan speaks following the massive earthquake and tsunami in northern Japan at a press conference in his Tokyo office on March 11, 2011.
President Obama speaks during a news conference at the White House on March 11, 2011 commenting on the earthquake that devastated Japan.
South Korean newspaper front pages show coverage of the Japan earthquake, in Seoul on March 12, 2011. South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak pledged to extend full assistance to Japan as it recovers from the massive quake that caused a towering tsunami to hits its eastern shores and destroyed everything in its path.
Rail passengers watch news of the earthquake on a television. Train services, including the famous bullet trains and Tokyo’s subway systems, were suspended. Airports were also shut disrupting domestic and international flights.