Smoke billows from Japan's Fukushima I nuclear reactor as a man watches the scene unfold on TV Saturday—the result of damage to the reactor's cooling system during yesterday's earthquake and tsunami. (See earthquake and tsunami pictures from Friday.)
At the plant, an explosion blew the roof off a building and destroyed exterior walls, Japan's Kyodo News reported. The steel container housing the reactor, however, was reportedly not damaged.
The explosion has heightened fears of radiation exposure in Japan, which has declared a precautionary nuclear emergency for the country.
A Japanese soldier carries an elderly man on his back Saturday to a shelter in Natori city, one of the hardest hit by Friday's earthquake and tsunami in Japan.
Some 300,000 people have been evacuated from earthquake-damaged areas, including 80,000 living near the damaged Fukushima I nuclear reactor.
The evacuation zone around the Fukushima I nuclear reactor was widened to 12 miles (20 kilometers) Saturday. "There is radiation leaking out, and since the possibility (of exposure) is high, it's quite scary," 17-year-old Masonori Ono told Reuters.
Flattened buildings smolder in an aerial picture of the Japanese town of Yamada on Saturday, the day after a magnitude 8.9 earthquake and tsunami hit the region. Hundreds of bodies have been pulled from the wreckage, and thousands remain missing.
The earthquake, the largest in Japan's history, struck off the coast of Sendai at 2:46 p.m., local time, on Friday. Minutes later the town was hit by tsunami waves up to three stories tall. (Get tsunami facts.)
A plea for help fills a school playing field in the port town of Minamisanriku in Japan's Miyagi Prefecture on Saturday. About 7,500 people have been evacuated to shelters since the earthquake and tsunami, the BBC reported. (Video: Tsunami 101.)
International disaster-relief teams have been dispatched to Japan, with the United Nations helping coordinate the effort. U.S. President Obama has pledged one U.S. aircraft carrier to join another already in the region.
A fire truck attends to burned-out cars at the Hitachi Harbor port northeastern Japan on Saturday.
Japan's three largest automobile manufactures – Toyota, Honda, and Nissan – have announced they will temporarily halt production at all domestic assembly plants following the earthquake and tsunami. Sony announced a shutdown as well, according to the Telegraph newspaper.
The full economic toll of the earthquake and tsunamiwon't be known for days, but analysts say the disaster could threaten nation's nascent economic recovery, the AFP news service reported.
Tsunami-tossed cargo containers litter the ground Saturday in Sendai, Japan, where the local airport was nearly completely flooded by Friday's three-story-tall wave.
Limited air traffic resumed at major Japanese airports on Saturday, but most were packed with stranded passengers, the Los Angeles Timesearthquake is, but I've never seen anything like this," Seven Nia, a Los Angeles businessperson, told the paper. reported. "I'm from California, so I can recognize what an