A ruling ordering the city of Ishinomaki and Miyagi Prefecture to pay damages over the death of pupils in the March 2011 tsunami has been finalized after the Supreme Court rejected their appeal, officials said Friday.

The top court on Thursday upheld a high court ruling awarding around ¥1.44 billion in damages to relatives of the victims, as it acknowledged the deaths of 23 Okawa Elementary School pupils could have been prevented if the city and the prefecture had updated a contingency plan.

It is the first time the top court has finalized a compensation ruling based on insufficient disaster prevention measures taken before the massive offshore quake.