Suit over child deaths at kindergarten in 2011 tsunami settled

JIJI

A Miyagi Prefecture kindergarten and several bereaved families on Tuesday settled on ¥3 million in damages paid by the facility to each of the families of eight children who died in the massive tsunami unleashed by the Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11, 2011.

In the settlement of a damages suit filed by the families over the deaths, Fuji Kindergarten in Yamamoto, Miyagi Prefecture, agreed to pay ¥3 million per bereaved family, according to an attorney for the plaintiffs.

The privately run kindergarten will also strive to improve its disaster reduction manual and consider building a memorial for its kindergartners killed in the March 2011 disaster.

The settlement was reached through mediation by Sendai District Court. In the suit, bereaved families of the dead children had sought a total of ¥250 million in damages.

According to the plaintiffs’ petition, the kindergarten tried to evacuate 51 children on two buses as the kindergarten building was feared to collapse just after the quake.

Both buses were swept away by the tsunami as they stood by, causing the deaths of eight children and one kindergarten employee. The plaintiffs claimed that the staff failed to collect the necessary information or take appropriate action toward evacuation.

Privately run Hiyori Kindergarten in Ishinomaki in the same prefecture faced a similar damages suit brought by bereaved families of four of the five children killed there in the disasters. This suit was settled in December last year through mediation by Sendai High Court.