The death toll from the massive quake that hit northeast Japan on Friday, causing many injuries, fires and a four-metre (13-ft) tsunami along the country's Pacific coast, has reached 26, local media reported.

The US Geological Survey said the epicenter was about 250 miles from Tokyo at a depth of 20 miles. The quake's magnitude was recorded 8.9 on Richter scale.

About 20 were injured and many are still missing, including a number of children who were sucked into the sea following the quake, the public broadcaster said.

Among the dead in Tokyo, were a 67 year old man who was crushed by a wall and an elderly woman killed under a fallen roof, the report said. Two deaths are reported due to collapsing wall at a Honda factory in Tochigi prefecture.

According to media reports, collapsed buildings caused three more deaths as the earthquake caused buildings to shake violently in the capital Tokyo.

About eight people were missing in a landslide in Fukushima prefecture, Kyodo News agency said.

While the massive earthquake is being considered more powerful than the last month's New Zealand quake, authorities are expecting a rise in death toll.