Parents Of Japanese Tsunami Victims Sue School
August 11, 2011 by UPI - United Press International, Inc.
SENDAI, Japan, Aug. 11 (UPI) — The parents of Japanese children killed when a tsunami hit their school bus have sued the private school they claim ignored warnings, officials said.
Parents of four of the dead children filed a lawsuit against Hiyori Kindergarten, a private school in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture, the Yomiuri Shimbun reported Thursday.
The suit alleges the school ignored tsunami warnings to seek higher ground and avoid coastal areas following the March 11 earthquake that killed some 15,000 people. Instead, the suit alleges, the school ignored the warning and attempted to return the children home via coastal roadways.
The parents are seeking $2.3 million in damages in the suit filed in the Sendai District Court.
The suit is the first in what could become a string of cases filed by family members who lost children in the disaster, the report said.
Family members of 25 driving students killed by the tsunami in Yamamotocho, Miyagi Prefecture, plan to file a lawsuit against a school next month.
The Yomiuri Shimbun said 74 children, or about 70 percent of the students of the Okawa Primary School in Ishinomaki, died or were missing as a result of the tsunami.
The newspaper said the students were instructed to wait for about 40 minutes outside the school before being evacuated. Parents said the children died because they were forced to wait too long before being removed to higher ground.