The families of two of the nine people who died in the sinking of the high school fisheries training ship Ehime Maru by a U.S. submarine in a collision off Hawaii two years ago signed a settlement with the U.S. Navy in Tokyo on Friday.
Lawyers signed settlement accords at the U.S. Embassy on behalf of the relatives of Yusuke Terata, 17, who was a student at Uwajima Fisheries High School in Ehime Prefecture, and Toshimichi Furuya, 47, who was chief engineer of the Ehime Maru.
The families of the seven other Japanese who perished in the Feb. 9, 2001, accident, along with the 26 survivors, reached settlements with the U.S. Navy on Nov. 14 for a reported total of $13.9 million.
The navy admitted responsibility for the accident, in which the 6,080-ton nuclear submarine Greeneville rammed the 499-ton Ehime Maru from below while the submarine was performing a rapid-surfacing exercise for the benefit of civilian guests aboard. Nobody on the submarine was injured in the collision.
Under U.S. law, the time limit for a settlement payment to be made by the U.S. Navy is two years from the occurrence of an incident.
The figure for the families of Terata and Furuya has not been revealed, but the amounts were expected to be similar to those in the cases of the other seven who perished in the incident, covering compensation for the deaths and redress for mental anguish.
Terata’s parents, who as a condition for settlement demanded a meeting with Scott Waddle, the captain of Greeneville at the time of the incident, met him in Tokyo when he visited Japan in December to offer his condolences.
Four teenage students, all boys, and two teachers and three crew members aboard the Ehime Maru died in the accident. Nine other boys from the high school and 17 crew members were rescued by the U.S. Navy.
After a navy court of inquiry, Waddle was reprimanded in April 2001 for the collision. He received an honorable discharge later in the year.
The U.S. Navy found the bodies of eight of the dead aboard the Ehime Maru in a search that ended in November 2001. The body of Takeshi Mizuguchi, 17, one of the students, was never recovered.
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