Cayetano and JapaneseMotoyuki Kato, governor of Ehime prefecture, and Gov. Ben Cayetano are expected to preside over a ceremony next Saturday designed to mark the first anniversary of the collision between a U.S. nuclear submarine and Japanese fisheries training vessel and "to comfort the nine souls who perished."
governor to dedicate
9 granite slabs will be unveiled
on next Saturday's anniversary
By Gregg K. Kakesako
The Ehime prefecture paid for the $65,000 granite memorial at Kakaako Waterfront Park. The 190-foot Ehime Maru sank on Feb. 9 nine miles south of Diamond Head after being struck by the Pearl Harbor-based nuclear attack submarine USS Greeneville.
The memorial will be maintained by volunteers from Japan-America Society, the United Japanese Society and St. Louis School's Japanese Club.
After an unprecedented $60 million recovery operation last fall, the Navy, with the help of Japanese Self-Defense Force divers, recovered the bodies of eight of the nine people who were killed. Never found after a monthlong search was the body of Takeshi Mizuguchi, 17.
Twenty-six people, many of them students of Uwajima Fisheries High School, survived the collision.
Earl Okawa, executive director of the Japan-America Society in Hawaii, said yesterday: "Everything is in place at the site. All that's left to do is the unveiling."
The Japan-America Society and other Japanese organizations in Hawaii raised $160,000, which was turned over to the families of the nine victims in June.
The 12-by-12-foot Kakaako memorial features nine black granite slabs and an Ehime Maru anchor and chain recovered by Navy divers. Also inscribed on the memorial is the emblem of Uwajima Fisheries High School, which owned the ship, and the names of the victims. There also is a diagram to explain what happened.
In November the Hawaii Community Development Authority approved a request from the Japanese government to locate the memorial in the state park. The site was chosen by the victims' families because it was near the Aloha Tower, where other Japanese fisheries training vessels like the Ehime Maru tie up while in the islands.
Coincidentally, another fisheries training vessel with students from Uwajima High School will be in the islands around the time of the memorial's dedication.
The victims' families also wanted the memorial to face the ocean within view of the collision site, the place where the recovery operations occurred near the Honolulu Airport reef runway, and where the Ehime Maru was laid to rest 12 miles south of Kalaeloa.
The Greeneville was demonstrating an emergency surfacing maneuver for 16 civilians visiting the ship when the collision occurred. Following a rare Navy court of inquiry, the Greeneville's skipper, Cmdr. Scott Waddle, was allowed to retire in October. No other reprimands were issued to the Greeneville's crew of 130 sailors.
However, within the past year the Greeneville lost Waddle's successor. The new captain, Cmdr. David Bogdan, ran the submarine aground during rough seas in August while trying to enter a Saipan harbor. Last week, the Greeneville was involved in another accident when it collided with the USS Ogden near Oman.