A resident looks at a message board at an evacuation center in Iwate prefecture. (Kyodo News / AP )
The death toll from Friday's 8.9 earthquake in Japan exceeded 687 as of Saturday midnight, according to a police tally reported by Kyodo News Agency, and the number of casualties was expected to increase.
The news agency reported that an additional 200 to 300 unidentified bodies were transferred to Sendai, Miyagi prefecture.
About 300,000 residents had been evacuated Saturday in five prefectures, including Iwate and Fukushima, the news agency reported, citing the Japanese National Police Agency. According to the Japanese government, the figure included about 50,000 people living near the Fukushima nuclear power plants, which were damaged in the quake.
Photos: Scenes from the earthquake
Fires remained a problem in residential areas Saturday such as Kesennuma in Miyagi prefecture, which battled three large-scale fires, one a half mile long.
About 3,400 buildings had been destroyed, the news agency reported, citing the Japanese fire agency. The Japanese welfare ministry said 181 of its facilities, including nursing homes, had been damaged, the news agency reported.
In Iwate Prefecture, most areas of the coastal city of Rikuzentakata were submerged and tsunami waters reached as high as the third floor of the city hall, according to Kyodo News Agency. The coastal area of Miyako and almost all of the town of Yamada, both in Iwate, were also submerged, the news agency reported.
Videos of the earthquake
A municipal official of the town of Futaba in Fukushima prefecture told Kyodo, ''More than 90% of the houses in three coastal communities have been washed away by tsunami. Looking from the fourth floor of the town hall, I see no houses standing.''
About 5.57 million households had lost power Saturday, while more than 1 million households in 18 prefectures had lost water, the news agency reported.
Toyota Motor Corp., Nissan Motor Co. and Honda Motor Co. all planned to suspend production at Japanese plants on Monday due to the difficulty of obtaining parts, according to the news agency.