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Lawyers for relatives of 25 of the 35 people aboard a high school fisheries training ship sunk by a U.S. submarine said they held their first compensation talks with U.S. representatives on Wednesday.

The lawyers said they met with Capt. Carol Cooper from the legal affairs division of the U.S. Navy in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, to discuss procedural issues, such as interpreters and the venue for future negotiations.

The Ehime Prefectural Government has appointed the same lawyers to conduct compensation negotiations for the loss of the 499-ton Ehime Maru, which belonged to Uwajima Fisheries High School in Ehime Prefecture.

Ehime Vice Gov. Nobuyoshi Yano also took part in the talks.

The prefecture has begun construction on a new Ehime Maru. Compensation for the sunken vessel is expected to be equivalent to the 1.1 billion yen cost of the new ship, prefectural sources said, minus 20 percent to 30 percent in depreciation for the sunken vessel over five years.

Relatives of eight of the other people aboard the Ehime Maru, two dead and six survivors, have appointed another group of lawyers to conduct negotiations on their behalf, with the possibility of filing a lawsuit against the United States seeking compensation.

The USS Greeneville, a 6,080-ton, nuclear-powered submarine, struck and sank the Ehime Maru on Feb. 9 while conducting an emergency surfacing drill near Hawaii for the benefit of civilian visitors. Nine Japanese, including four teenage students, were lost at sea.

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