• Kyodo


The Japan Lawyers Association for Freedom has unanimously adopted a resolution seeking the disclosure of all the facts in the Feb. 9 sinking of the Japanese high school fisheries training ship Ehime Maru by the submarine USS Greeneville.

The resolution, adopted Monday, also calls for damages and the prevention of similar accidents.

The association, a human-rights group headed by Nao Ugajin that promotes freedom, peace and democracy in Japan, adopted the resolution at a research debate meeting in the city of Kochi.

Attempts are being made to have the accident “settled calmly” with “light punishments” for related officers, leaving important facts undisclosed, the resolution states. “The Japanese government is also trying to ‘resolve’ the case through deals without seeking the truth.”

Last month, the former Greeneville skipper, Cmdr. Scott Waddle, received an administrative punishment for his role in the collision and was spared a court-martial.

The punishment was based on a recommendation by three admirals who sat on the bench of the U.S. Navy Court of Inquiry into the accident, which claimed nine Japanese lives.

Five other officers were also punished, including Lt. Cmdr. Gerald Pfeifer, the sub’s executive officer, with a decision on whether to penalize another officer pending, according to the navy.

The parents of Yusuke Terata, a 17-year-old high school student who was lost in the collision, also attended the meeting. They said they want all the facts to be made known, noting the accident should not be forgotten.

In the resolution, the 1,500-member association also called on the U.S. side to disclose all information related to the disaster and to guarantee that such an accident will never happen again.

It also calls on Tokyo and the Ehime Prefectural Government to pay compensation.

The Greeneville, a 6,080-ton nuclear-powered attack submarine, slammed into the 499-ton Ehime Maru during a rapid surfacing drill off Hawaii in a demonstration for civilian guests aboard.

Nine of the 35 Japanese aboard the trawler were lost at sea.

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