Toshiro Sato, 50, a teacher in Miyagi Prefecture who lost his daughter to the 2011 megaquake and tsunami, believes there are other ways than going to court to tell people about the pain of losing loved ones and to prevent such tragedies from recurring.

On Monday, the Sendai District Court held the first hearing of a civil lawsuit filed by families of 23 students at Okawa Elementary School in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture, who were killed by the March disasters. The families are seeking ¥2.3 billion in damages from the city and prefectural governments, blaming the deaths on school authorities' failure to evacuate them to higher ground before the monster tsunami arrived.

Despite having played a key role in investigating the cause of the deaths of his then-12-year-old daughter, Mizuho, and other students at the school, Sato decided not to join the lawsuit.