The Sendai High Court has upheld a ruling by a lower court last year in which the Shichi-ju-shichi (77) Bank cannot be held responsible for the deaths of its employees in the March 11, 2011 disaster.
The Sendai District Court dismissed a suit by the families of three deceased employees in February 2014. After that ruling, the families appealed to the Sendai High Court.
One of the plaintiffs was quoted by local TV as saying, "I hoped that this damages suit would improve safety measures and risk management, but the court showed that we are not stepping forward but stepping back.”
The three bank employees were among 12 employees who died in the tsunami after they were ordered to evacuate to the roof of the bank building in Onagawa, Miyagi Prefecture. A 13th employee, who was also on the roof, survived.
The relatives had sued the Sendai-based bank for 230 million yen in damages.
The focal point of the suit was whether or not the bank management could have foreseen that a tsunami would have been higher than the roof which was 10 meters high. The plaintiffs argued that the bank should have ordered staff to evacuate to higher ground rather than send them up to the roof.
The presiding judge said in the verdict, handed down on Wednesday, that “It would have been difficult to predict that a tsunami 20 meters high would hit the building."© Japan Today