National

Kin of Okawa Elementary tsunami victims launch counter-appeals after successful lawsuit

Kyodo

Plaintiffs in the Okawa Elementary tsunami death lawsuit are appealing to a higher court despite winning a lower court ruling that ordered local authorities to pay them ¥1.4 billion ($13.7 million) in damages.

The families of the kids killed by the March 2011 tsunami at the school in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture, filed the appeal Wednesday with the Sendai High Court in response to appeals made earlier by the Miyagi prefectural and Ishinomaki municipal governments.

Both governments argue that it was impossible for the city-run school to predict the arrival of the tsunami that claimed the 74 students at Okawa Elementary School. The prefectural and city governments took their case to the high court on Monday.

In the suit filed with the Sendai District Court, the plaintiffs had demanded that the local governments jointly pay ¥2.3 billion in compensation, or ¥100 million for each victim, claiming the school should have foreseen the possibility of tsunami after the huge earthquake and evacuated the children to a nearby mountain or other higher ground instead of an area near a river.

The Sendai court ruled late last month that the school could have predicted the arrival of the tsunami at least seven minutes in advance, while pointing out that it failed in its duty to evacuate the children to a safer place.

In the disaster, 74 of the 108 students at the school and 10 of its 13 teachers and officials died.