Según Deutsche Welle las autoridades japonesas ya emitieron alarma por riesgo que el núcleo del reactor se funda con la consecuente catástrofe.
Japan warned that one of its nuclear plants may be in meltdown after a massive quake and tsunami wiped out a swathe of the country's northeast. White smoke has been seen billowing from a nuclear power plant in the area.
An explosion was heard and smoke was seen at Tokyo Electric Power Co's (TEPCO) Fukushima No.1 nuclear power plant, Japanese media reported on Saturday. There have also been reports that walls have crumbled at one of the buildings in the plant.
Japanese government officials have denied there was an explosion, though they admitted there was shaking and a trail of white smoke at the plant in the area devastated by a massive earthquake.
Several workers are believed to have been injured, and radiation has reportedly reached 20 times the normal level.
Fukushima Prefecture official Masato Abe said the cause is still under investigation, but officials have ordered that people living within 10 kilometers of the plant leave their homes. They also said there was no immediate health hazard, and asked people to evacuate calmly.
Some 45,000 people living within three kilometers of the nearby Fukushima Daini nuclear reactor were also ordered to evacuate as a precaution on Saturday.
Reactor cooling systems failed at the two plants after Friday's record 8.9-magnitude earthquake hit, unleashing a terrifying 10-metre (33-foot) high wave that tore through coastal towns and cities, destroying all in its path.
Bildunterschrift: Whole houses were washed away by the tsunami
The estimated death toll rose from several hundred to more than 1,000 as the tsunami swallowed cars, homes, farms and boats. The epicenter was located about 130 kilometers (81 miles) east of the northeastern city of Sendai, on the main island of Honshu.
The earthquake also shook subway lines and buildings in Tokyo, Japan's capital and one of the most densely populated cities in the world.
"The images of the New Zealand earthquake are still fresh in my mind so I was really scared," said Asagi Machida, a 27-year-old web designer who was getting coffee when the earthquake hit. "I couldn't believe such an earthquake was happening in Tokyo."
Bildunterschrift: Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift: Over 700 people have already been confirmed dead in Japan
Pacific nations spared
The tsunami triggered by the massive earthquake ploughed across the South Pacific on Saturday, sending people fleeing to higher ground but causing only minor damage and no loss of life.
In the Marquesas islands sirens blared, warning residents to flee to higher ground. Although waves up to three meters were forecast, they were less than a meter when they swept in, but still flooded some houses.
In New Zealand, civil defense officials warned of waves of just over one meter and advised people to stay away from beach areas.
The first wave, however, "was rather insignificant and hardly visible to the naked eye," said civil defense operations manager David Coetzee as hundreds of people made their way to the shoreline to see what the fuss was about.
"It looks pretty good out there and we are not the first ones out," Graeme Barnard told the Waikato Times newspaper as he set out for a day's fishing off Hamilton, on the west coast of the North Island.
Bildunterschrift: Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift: An oil refinery in Ichihara caught fire after the quake
A statement from leaders of the 27 European Union states meeting in Brussels expressed "condolences and support to the governments and people affected" and pledged support for qake-hit Japan.
"In addition to national responses, we have asked the High Representative [Catherine Ashton] and the [European] Commission to mobilize all appropriate assistance," the statement said.
"I would like to tell the Japanese people that Germany is standing by their side in this difficult hour," Chancellor Angela Merkel said. "Germany will help with the reconstruction efforts, not just in the coming days, but also in the long term."
The United Nations put 30 disaster response teams on alert to help Japan if needed.
"Our experts are in close contact with the disaster management in Japan, and, so far, Japan's national resources are fully engaged in the response," said Elisabeth Byrs, a spokeswoman for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
United States President Barack Obama said his country was monitoring the tsunami threat on US soil and "stands ready to help the Japanese people in this time of great trial. The friendship and alliance between our two nations is unshakable."
Japan's northeast Pacific coast of Sanriku is prone to earthquakes. As late as Wednesday, a 7.2 magnitude quake struck. In 1933, an 8.1 magnitude quake struck the area, killing more than 3,000 people.
Japan is one of the world's most seismically active areas. The island nation accounts for 20 percent the world's earthquakes of magnitude 6 or greater.
Authors: Ben Knight (AFP, AP, Reuters, dpa)
Editor: Toma Tasovac
Editor: Toma Tasovac