(CNN) -- The threat of a tsunami prompted the U.S. National Weather Service to issue a warning for at least 50 countries and territories after an 8.9-magnitude earthquake struck Japan Friday.
The wide-ranging list includes Russia and Indonesia, Central American countries like Guatemala, El Salvador and Costa Rica and the U.S. state of Hawaii. The weather service's bulletin is intended "as advice to government agencies."
The quake, which struck near the coast of Honshu, Japan on Friday afternoon, unleashed a wall of water that rushed in toward land, leveling houses and bashing cars in its path.
Some officials feared that the fast-moving waves from a tsunami could be so high that they wash over entire islands in the Pacific, a spokesman for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said Friday.