Japan has been hit by a truly horrific earthquake and tsunami.
The offshore quake is reported to have been 8.4 on the Richter scale.
Waves have hit the north-east coast of Japan, in particular Sendai in the Miyagi Prefecture.
Japan is preparing for further aftershocks and tsunamis.
A tsunami warning has also been issued for the entire Pacific.
The United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has issued a tsunami warning for all of the Pacific. This warning list includes Australia.
At 7.07pm the Joint Australian Tsunami Warning Centre (part of the Bureau of Meteorology) advised that there is no tsunami threat to Australian mainland islands.
The Government is monitoring this situation very closely.
It is still too early to know the full extent of the damage but it is clear that this is a significant disaster.
Australia stands ready to assist Japan in any way at this difficult time.
Our embassy in Japan is urgently contacting local authorities to determine whether any Australians have been affected.
If you have concerns for the welfare of family and friends who you believe to have been in the affected areas, you should first attempt to contact them directly.
The thoughts and prayers of all Australians are with the Japanese people and everyone affected by this unfolding tragedy.
If you are unable to contact them and still hold concerns for their welfare, you should call the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on 1300 555 135.
11 March 2011