The Sendai District Court in Miyagi Prefecture has turned down a suit for damages filed against a kindergarten by the families of two children who died when the tsunami engulfed the kindergarten in the town of Yamamoto.
The families had filed the 88 million yen damages suit against the kindergarten, claiming staff were negligent in not moving the children to higher ground immediately after a tsunami warning was issued. Fuji TV reported that the children were told to wait in the school yard for further instructions for more than an hour after the alert.
The tsunami hit the school, which was on flat land about a 1/2/ kilometers from the coast, 75 minutes after the quake struck.
Presiding Judge Maki Yamada dismissed the family's lawsuit on Monday, pointing out that there was no way for anyone to know at the time how big the tsunami was or that it would reach the kindergarten.
The ruling is the second case involving kindergarten children who died in the tsunami.
Last September, a court in Miyagi ordered a kindergarten in Ishinomaki to pay 170 million yen in damages to parents of four children who died after being put on a bus that drove toward the incoming tsunami.
In that case, staff at Hiyori Kindergarten, which sits on a hill, sent children home on a route that took them toward the sea. Five children and one woman were killed when the bus was engulfed by the huge waves that swept over the seaside road as the bus was trying to turn around. The driver survived the tsunami.
The kindergarten had argued it was impossible to know there would be such a big tsunami and the decision to send children home had been sound.© Japan Today