SENDAI —The Sendai District Court has ruled the Shichi-ju-shichi (77) Bank cannot be held responsible for the deaths of its employees in the March 11, 2011 disaster.
The court handed down the ruling Tuesday in a damages suit brought by relatives of three bank employees. They were among 12 employees who died in the tsunami after they were ordered to evacuate to the roof of the bank building in Onagawa, Miyagi Prefecture, NTV reported Wednesday. A 13th employee, who was also on the roof, survived.
The relatives had sued the Sendai-based bank for 230 million yen in damages.
The focal point of the suit was whether or not the bank management could have foreseen that a tsunami would have been higher than the roof which was 10 meters high. The plaintiffs argued that the bank should have ordered staff to evacuate to higher ground rather than send them up to the roof.
Presiding judge Norio Saiki said in the verdict, “It would have been difficult to predict that a tsunami 20 meters high would hit the building.”
One of the plaintiffs, Yasuo Takamatsu, was quoted by NTV as saying, “I hoped that this damages suit would improve safety measures and risk management, but the court showed that we are not stepping forward but stepping back.”
Filed under: 8.Eathquake & Nuclear accident