WASHINGTON — US President Barack Obama on Friday offered his "condolences" to the people of Japan and said his country stood ready to help them after a massive earthquake and tsunami.


"(First Lady) Michelle (Obama) and I send our deepest condolences to the people of Japan, particularly those who have lost loved ones in the earthquake and tsunamis," he said in a statement.

"The United States stands ready to help the Japanese people in this time of great trial. The friendship and alliance between our two nations is unshakeable, and only strengthens our resolve to stand with the people of Japan as they overcome this tragedy."

Obama said he would monitor the tsunami triggered by the earthquake, which is expected to strike his home state of Hawaii and reach the US West Coast later in the day, and had instructed emergency responders to be prepared.

"We will continue to closely monitor tsunamis around Japan and the Pacific going forward and we are asking all our citizens in the affected region to listen to their state and local officials," he said.

"I have instructed FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency) to be ready to assist Hawaii and the rest of the US states and territories that could be affected."