About 150 dolphins have beached themselves and become stranded on Japan’s north-eastern coast.
The dolphins were lying on a stretch of about 10 kms of beach in Hokota, a coastal city north-east of Tokyo.
Some of the dolphins, mostly melon-headed whales or blackfish, were found alive but were extremely weak and later died.
Television footage showed dozens of people carrying buckets and pouring sea water over the dolphins, or even covering them with bath towels, to keep them from drying up.
City authorities, the coast guard and an aquarium were working to rescue the dolphins, which are between two to three metres long.
Public television station NHK reported that the coast guard transported three in good health off shore and released them.
Smaller beachings have occurred over the last 15 years, including some 50 dolphins on a nearby coast in 2011.