A tsunami triggered by a massive earthquake has caused widespread damage in Japan's Fukushima prefecture, according to reports.

Vehicles, ships and buildings have been swept away in the tsunami, after an earthquake of 8.9 magnitude struck. The epicenter of the quake was about 250 miles from Tokyo at a depth of 20 miles, according to the US Geological Survey.

Japanese authorities had warned of the possibility of waves of up to 20ft height followed by the tremor and several aftershocks.

The termor has caused damage to building in towns near the capital Tokyo. Reuters reported that black smoke was seen billowing from a building in a Tokyo suburb.

An NHK footage showed a large ship which was carried off by tsunami waters hitting a breakwater near the Miyagi prefecture.