Japanese school ordered to pay $16m to Tsunami victims

2015-01-13 12:48
Tsunami debris (File, AP)

Tsunami debris (File, AP)

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Tokyo - A Japanese driving school was ordered on Tuesday to pay damages for failing to evacuate students and staff quickly enough ahead of the 2011 tsunami, local media reported.

The school in the north-eastern prefecture of Miyagi must pay $16.1m to relatives of 25 students and an employee who died, the Sendai District Court ruled, according to a Kyodo news agency.

After the magnitude-9 quake struck on 11 March, 2011, the driving school first kept pupils and staff on the premises, about 750m from the shore in Yamamoto town, for an hour before deciding to evacuate.

But they were too late to escape the waves that caught 23 of the people in fleeing cars, two still on foot and one member of staff who had been told to stay at the driving school and clean up.

The school had failed in its "duty to foresee the tsunami and transport the students to safety," presiding judge Kenji Takamiya was quoted as saying.

The damages suit is the fourth filed by families of disaster victims against schools or businesses to make it to a district court ruling, Kyodo said.

About 18 500 people were left dead or missing by the disaster, which also triggered a triple meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station.

Read more on:    japan  |  natural disasters  |  tsunamis
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