The tsunami came crashing into the northern port of Minamisanriku, sweeping away everything in its path. Whole buildings were washed away, cars, boats, trains – nothing survived the waves.
Nobody knows how many peole died there, but reports in Japan say upto 10 000 people are unaccounted for.
Initial figures on the victims of the quake and subsequent tsunami are looking conservative, but as the scale of the damage continues to be revealed, Japanese TV is now reporting a figure of 10 000 and rising.
Most of victims are likely to be in the hardest hit north-eastern region of the country.
Large areas remain surrounded by water and unreachable.
A mammoth rescue and recovery operation is now underway, spearheaded by around 100 000 troops from the army, as well as international teams arriving from all over the world.
Thousands of people are homeless. Bewildered, they wander around in a daze, searching for family members or collecting what’s left of their possessions.