School board apologizes for tsunami death

The following news story has come from NHK, the Japanese TV station which broadcasts via satellite in English, but is an important step and a warning about the dangers of ignoring safety messages!

The education board in Ishinomaki City, northeastern Japan has admitted responsibility and apologized for the large number of deaths among students at the Okawa Elementary School in last year's tsunami.

70 of the school's 108 students were killed in the March 11th disaster and 4 remain missing.

The education board had provided differing accounts of the situation at 2 previous briefing sessions for parents. It had only taken limited questions, drawing criticism from parents.

On Sunday, the education board held a third explanatory meeting. The principal of the elementary school, Teruyuki Kashiba, told parents that the school's anti-disaster measures were insufficient.

He said the school had not practiced how it should hand over students to their parents in the event of disaster.

He also admitted that he had not accurately understood the evacuation sites designated in the school disaster manual.

The head of the Ishinomaki board of education, Naohiko Sakai, said the board failed to check the school's anti-disaster system. He added that he could not deny the students' deaths were brought on partially by human error.

This was the first time that the education board admitted responsibility and offered an apology.

The board said it will provide more explanations to parents and promised to continue the search for the missing students.

The link to the story, including video, is here>>>

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