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On the latest Deep Dive podcast, host Oscar Boyd is joined by The Times’ Richard Lloyd Parry, author of “Ghosts of the Tsunami,” which focuses on the story of a small elementary school in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture.

Seventy-four of the 78 pupils at the school that day lost their lives to the tsunami of March 11, 2011. As Parry explains in his account of 3/11 and the events that unfolded afterward, it later became clear to survivors that the deaths of those children were entirely avoidable.

In the book, “Parry carefully reveals the psyche of people forced to come to terms with inconsolable sorrow,” wrote Roger Pulvers in a 2017 review. “He infuses their stories with a focused and acute account of the official cover-up of responsibility in a country where everyone is to blame and no one is to blame.”

Deep Dive podcast, Episode 84: Ghosts of the Tsunami — The tragedy at Okawa Elementary School | THE JAPAN TIMES
Deep Dive podcast, Episode 84: Ghosts of the Tsunami — The tragedy at Okawa Elementary School | THE JAPAN TIMES

A 2019 Supreme Court ruling brought to an end a five-year fight by parents of the Okawa school victims for recognition of the futility of the deaths and some form of recompense for their needless loss.

The top court rejected Ishinomaki and Miyagi Prefecture’s appeal against a 2016 lower court ruling ordering them to pay around ¥1.44 billion in damages over the death of the pupils.

As reported earlier in T5, the building where the pupils and 10 teachers lost their lives in 2011 is scheduled to open, possibly in April, as a memorial to those impacted by the disaster. Locals are divided on the plan, with some bereaved families saying they can’t bear the sight of the building.

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