Parliament today expressed its condolences to the people of Japan for the losses they have suffered as a result of last Friday's earthquake and tsunami.

The House adopted a motion introduced by Prime Minister John Key.

"The extent of the number of casualties is only just becoming clear," he said.

"As the extent of this terrible tragedy unfolds, I wish to express the deepest sympathies and condolences of the New Zealand Government to Japan."

Mr Key said New Zealanders had watched in horror and disbelief the scenes of destruction in Japan.

"We have recently experienced our own deadly earthquake, so it was with very raw emotion that we first heard of the devastation and loss of life in Japan."

Mr Key said he spoken to Japan's Prime Minister Naoto Kan and personally conveyed his sympathies.

"He explained to me the enormous devastation that Japan is facing, and he said that the Japanese government and people are united in dealing with the situation."

Mr Key said New Zealand would help Japan in any way it could.

Party leaders spoke in support of the motion, which was adopted unanimously.