Families lose 3/11 lawsuit over staff washed off Miyagi bank’s roof


The Supreme Court has upheld lower court rulings denying compensation for three bank workers swept away by the March 2011 tsunami.

The rulings rejected claims for damages made by families of the employees of 77 Bank, based in Miyagi Prefecture. Wednesday’s decision by the top court’s Second Petty Bench makes them final.

Thirteen staffers got onto the roof of the bank’s branch in the coastal town of Onagawa when the manager told them to.

The roof is around 13 meters off the ground, but the waves were up to 20 meters high, and the personnel were washed away. Only one survived.

The families of three of the victims sued the bank for ¥230 million in damages.

In April last year, the Sendai High Court said the branch manager’s actions did not violate its obligation to secure the safety of its employees because it was difficult to anticipate such high tsunami.