japan earthquake.jpgA mammoth relief mission has begun in north-east Japan, a day after it was struck by a devastating tsunami that claimed hundreds of lives.


Thousands of military troops, hundreds of planes and several ships have been mobilised to help in the relief mission.


The disaster was triggered by a 8.9 magnitude earthquake which is the country’s most powerful since records began.


Media reports say the tremor that occurred on Friday afternoon at a depth of about 24 kilometers, about  400 kilometers north-east of Tokyo was nearly 8 000 times stronger than the one which devastated Christchurch, New Zealand, last month.


About 300 people are known to have died and more than 500 are feared missing.


The media also say that the death toll will exceed 1 000.


Meanwhile, Japanese authorities declared a state of emergency at five reactors at the Fukushima one and two plants, as cooling

systems failed because of the earthquake.