Search and rescue teams from around the world are being dispatched after an overwhelmed Japanese government asked for foreign assistance. Dozens of countries have responded.
American, German, Swiss, Hungarian and Taiwanese squads, all fully equipped with the latest technology and sniffer dogs are already on hand to help with the daunting task.
Although it is feared thousands may have perished in the quake and the ensuing tsunami the rescue teams are still hopeful of finding people alive beneath the rubble and debris.
While they are all specially trained in dealing with the aftermath of disasters, many of the personnel are volunteers.
France is also sending one hundred members of a civil security unit.
So far around a thousand foreign rescuers are helping the 100,000 soldiers deployed by the Japanese government on its stricken northeast coast.