Rail lines in north-eastern Japan have ground to a halt after an earthquake measuring 8.9 on the Richter scale took place 125 miles off the country’s coastline, triggering huge tsunami waves.
Tokyo Metro Co. and Toei Transportation have shut down all subway services in the Japanese capital of Tokyo, which was struck by powerful aftershocks from the earthquake.
Checks carried out on the subway system have found no casualties as yet, but there has been no indication of when normal service will resume.
East Japan Railway Co. has cancelled all commuter rail services in the Tokyo area, as well as the Nagano, Joetsu and Tohoku high-speed bullet train lines, leaving long lines of commuters waiting for taxis or buses.
Information about damage to rail infrastructure in and around the coastal city of Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture, which lies closest to the earthquake’s offshore epicentre, has not yet been released.
According to the AFP, 29 fatalities have so far been reported across the country as a result of the tsunami.
A general tsunami warning has been put into effect for New Zealand, the Phillipines, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Hawaii and South America, among others.