An 8.9 magnitude earthquake off the Northeast coast of Japan on Friday triggered a massive tsunami, which is making its way across the Pacific Ocean and could impact numerous islands and coastal regions, including the U.S. West Coast.

Hundreds have died in Japan as water surged across Japan’s east coast, according to news reports.

The Hawaii State Civil Defense has issued a tsunami warning and evacuation orders as the first tsunami waves approached the Hawaiian islands, news agencies reported.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency said it is closely monitoring the effects of the earthquake and subsequent tsunami that struck Japan, noting that tsunami warnings and watches have been issued for Hawaii, the U.S. territories of Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands as well as portions of coastal areas, including Alaska, California, Oregon and Washington.

“We remind everyone who lives in the region to monitor their local news for instructions from their state and local officials and if told to evacuate — evacuate,” FEMA stated.

The U.S. Department of State issued a travel alert for Japan, advising U.S. citizens to avoid tourism and nonessential travel to Japan at this time. 

Tokyo airports are currently closed; other airports in Japan may be closed or have restricted access, the State Department reported. Public transportation, including trains and subways, is closed in the Tokyo area, and service has been interrupted in other areas. Many roads have been damaged in the Tokyo area and in northern Japan.

Strong aftershocks are likely for weeks following a strong earthquake such as this one, the State Department cautioned.  

On the cruise front, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. said that none of its brands’ ships were affected by the Japan earthquake or tsunami, and that no modifications have been made to itineraries that include Japan.

The company, which operates Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises, said it was continuing to monitor the situation.


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