The families of 23 elementary school students killed by the March 2011 tsunami testified in the Sendai District Court on Monday, alleging that school officials and local authorities in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture, should have taken them to higher ground in the 45 minutes or so before seawater engulfed the building.

"The delay in judgment caused irreparable (damage). It was simply a man-made disaster," Yoshiaki Suzuki told the court. Suzuki's son and daughter, Kento, 12, and Hana, 9, attended Okawa Elementary School. Kento was found dead eight days later on a riverbank about 1 km away; Hana was never found.

Of the 108 pupils enrolled at the school, 74 died or remain missing. Of the 13 staff, 10 perished.