A group of families of 23 children who died when they were swept away from their school in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture, by the tsunami on March 11, 2011, have filed a suit against the school and the prefectural government claiming they are responsible for the children's deaths.
The plaintiffs say that Okawa elementary school staff should have acted much faster to evacuate children from the school which is situated about four kilometers from the coast, TBS reported Tuesday. They also blamed the Ishinomaki city and prefectural governments for not sounding the tsunami alert sooner. In the disaster, 74 children and 10 teachers from the school died.
Family members are seeking 100 million yen in damages per child.
However, local government and school officials said there was no way to predict the size of the tsunami, nor that it would come so far inland and reach the school.
Before the first session got under way at the Sendai District Court on Monday morning, members of the bereaved families joined hands around the memorial that now stands outside the destroyed Okawa elementary school in remembrance of the children lost in the disaster.
The key point of the suit is the decision by school officials to have the children gather and wait for further instructions for over 45 minutes in the school yard, instead of moving the children to higher ground.© Japan Today