A Cork woman, working in Tokyo, has spoken about how she thought she was about to die when the 8.9 earthquake hit Japan on Thursday night.

Speaking to the Evening Echo newspaper, Erica Grainger, from Grange, County Cork, said the earthquake hit at 2.48 pm, local time.

"I was at my desk and the room started to shake. My colleague was at the desk opposite me and we just jumped under our desks. I was crying as it was pretty violent... The filing cabinets opened, and some things fell out. Another colleague was outside on his way here and he said people were just abandoning their cars.

“We get little earthquakes all the time and I don’t bat an eyelid. On Tuesday, we had a big one, and I didn’t even notice, but no one could have missed this.

“It was absolutely nothing like we’re used to, I thought this was the end,” she said.

The 31-year-old has been living in Tokyo, where she works as an English teacher, for seven years.

Grainger said there had been aftershocks in the four hours following the earthquake. She added that the first couple were pretty intense.

"We ran outside for safety about three times. We were supposed to finish work about 10 minutes after the earthquake, but the trains were shut down so I’ve no way home at the minute.

“The streets are chock-a-block with people walking home and cars are bumper to bumper. We think that we might have to stay in the office tonight. I’ve managed to make contact with all of my friends and the group of us from Cork, and everyone is ok.

“Thankfully, the internet meant everyone could contact each other on Facebook. It’s been pretty remarkable and comforting to see everyone check in.

“I went to the store a while ago for some food and the streets are full. There’s huge queues, but the shelves are bare. Kids were walking past me with earthquake cushion hats that they all wear…It’s pretty surreal outside."