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[Japan quake] Death toll reaches 19: reports

TOKYO (AFP) - The death toll from the massive 8.9-magnitude earthquake that hit Japan on Friday, causing huge tsunamis along its Pacific coast, has reached 19, press reports said.

The dead included a 67-year-old man crushed by a wall and an elderly woman killed by a fallen roof, both in the wider Tokyo area, press reports said.

Three were crushed to death when their houses collapsed in Ibaraki prefecture, northeast of Tokyo.

The National Police Agency, charged with compiling nationwide data on natural disasters, could not immediately confirm the figures.

"The damage is so enormous that it will take us much time to gather data," an official at the agency said.

US widens tsunami warning to most of Pacific

The US tsunami monitoring center on Friday widened a warning to virtually the entire Pacific coast, including Australia and South America, after a massive earthquake in Japan.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center expanded a previous alert to include the US state of Hawaii, Australia, New Zealand, and the entire coast of Central and South America.

The center had earlier said the tsunami would hit Hawaii at around 2:45 am(1245 GMT) and the US West Coast at 7:45 am (1545 GMT).

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