And the UN's nuclear watchdog said at Fukushima No. 1 power plant, which suffered an explosion on Saturday a day after the massive quake, and where authorities are battling a feared meltdown of two reactors, eight workers had been affected.
"Four workers were injured by the explosion at the Unit 1 reactor, and there are three other reported injuries in other incidents," the IAEA said on its website, citing Japanese authorities.
"In addition, one worker was exposed to higher-than-normal radiation levels that fall below the IAEA guidance for emergency situations," it said, without giving further details.
The agency earlier measured it at 8.8. The quake was already the biggest to hit Japan since record-keeping began in the late 1800s and one of the biggest ever recorded in the world.
The US Geological Survey has measured the quake at magnitude 8.9, and that number remains unchanged.
The companies will suspend production from Monday, joining other automakers including Toyota and Honda.
The Japanese Foreign Ministry said Tokyo received offers for support from 69 countries and regions along with five international organisations.
"Our heartfelt sympathies go out to the Japanese for the devastation and loss of life following the earthquake and tsunami," Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei said today.
"Our thoughts and prayers are also with all those families and friends here in New Zealand.
"We will do everything to support the Japanese community here through this difficult time.
"And to the people of Sendai especially, all of New Zealand stands with you. Kia kaha."
"We have received a preliminary report that more than 200 bodies were found in the city of Higashimatsushima," a National Police Agency spokesman said, adding that local police are starting to collect the bodies.
"There was a partial melt of a fuel rod, melting of fuel rod. There was a part of that... but it was nothing like a whole reactor melting down," said Fujisaki, adding that he was being briefed hourly on the situation.
"That's a reasonable number," USGS seismologist Paul Earle told AFP. "Eight feet, that's certainly going to be in the ballpark."
He said similar movements would have been seen for Chile and Indonesia.
"We do believe that there is a possibility that meltdown has occurred. It is inside the reactor. We can't see. However, we are assuming that a meltdown has occurred."
Authorities are concerned over the possibility of meltdowns at the second and third reactors, he said.
A meltdown occurs when the reactor core fails, with potential for widespread radiation.
An advance party from the team is expected in japan this afternoon.
Christchurch fire service area manager Dan Coward said the team would be made up of search and rescue staff from across New Zealand and includes some from Christchurch.
The team is taking 15 tonnes of equipment which is being sent over on a mixture of Defence Force and commercial flights.
Mr Coward was confident there would be no adverse effects on the continuing recovery operation in Christchurch. There are still two full taskforces of 48 each remaining here.
He said the team took pride in being able to assist a nation which had provided support in Christchurch's time of need.
Government spokesman Yukio Edano said radiation at that reactor was under control.
Meanwhile, an estimated 200,000 people have been evacuated so far from the areas around the Fukushima No.1 and No. 2 nuclear plants, according to the UN atomic watchdog.
The US Geological Survey says the temblor had a magnitude of 6.2 and struck at 10.26am local time. It was centred about 179km east of Tokyo, at a depth of 24.5km.
Japan has been rattled by more than 150 aftershocks since Friday.
The National Police Agency said 688 people had been confirmed dead and 642 missing, with 1,570 injured in the disaster.
Police in Sendai, Miyagi prefecture, separately said Friday that at least 200 and up to 300 bodies had been found on the shore.
Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd said Australia and the world was awaiting further information.
"We and the rest of the international community need urgent briefings on the precise status of these reactors," he told public broadcaster ABC on Sunday.
"We are seeking further co-operation on the technical and safety aspects of these from the Japanese government."
Meanwhile, two Queensland search and rescue dog teams just back from Christchurch will fly to Japan today to search for survivors.
The number of Australians registered with the embassy is 2319, and of these 189 are in affected areas.
"The situation has become desperate enough that they apparently don't have the capability to deliver fresh water or plain water to cool the reactor and stabilise it, and now, in an act of desperation, are having to resort to diverting and using sea water," said Robert Alvarez, who works on nuclear disarmament at the Institute for Policy Studies.
Peter Bradford, former head of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, said that if the cooling attempts fail, "at that point it's a Chernobyl-like situation where you start dumping in sand and cement."
A number of concerts, musicals, kabuki plays, exhibitions and other events across the nation have also announced cancellations.
While officials downplayed any immediate danger, the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission deployed two experts to Japan.
Toshiro Bannai told CNN he was confident that an ensuing crisis could be controlled.
The Tokyo Electric Power Company said a second reactor at the plant failed early this morning. It said it was having trouble cooling the reactor and it may need to release radioactive steam to relieve the pressure.
11.53am: A former US energy policy adviser says the use of seawater and boron to cool the reactor at the Fukushima Dai Ichi nuclear power plant was a desperate, "Hail Mary pass" tactic, with success depending on the volume and rate at which the dousing continues.
Robert Alvarez told reporters in the US that the effort would need to continue non-stop for several days.
Kyodo News reported that the Tokyo Tower and Yokohama's Bay Bridge were among those to shut off power after Friday's earthquake and ensuing tsunami.
The operators of the Tokyo Tower said the switch-off partially reflected their intention to express their condolences in regard to those who had perished in the disaster.
The Tokyo Electric Power Company said the primary containment vessel remains intact, and sea water mixed with boron has been injected into it to limit damage to the reactor core.
However, the explosion resulted in the roof and the walls of the building housing the reactor's container being blown away.
The IAEA said it had been told that four workers were injured at the plant when the explosion occurred.
Hello Kitty designer Yuko Yamaguchi was the subject of similar claims.
Officials did not say why, and the precise cause of the explosion and the extent of the ongoing danger remains unclear, reports the Associated Press.
Japan's central bank has promised a "fast response" to the earthquake/tsunami tragedy in the country.
Japan's Prime Minister Naoto Kan has toured some tsunami-hit areas, by boat - the only practical method of transport in those areas.
Up to 50,000 search and rescue workers are either already at, or heading to, Japan's worst-hit disaster zones on the north-eastern coast.
The evacuation zone around the Fukushima No 1 nuclear power plant has now been extended to a 20 kilometre-wide radius.
Authorities say the casing surrounding the nuclear reactor has not been damaged - only an external wall has fallen down. So, they say, there is no danger of meltdown occuring.