Saturday, October 19, 2002

33 Ehime families
accepting U.S. offer

Associated Press

TOKYO >> Most of the families of 35 Japanese killed or injured in the February 2001 collision between a fishing training vessel and a U.S. Navy submarine off Hawaii have agreed to accept a U.S. offer of compensation totaling $13 million, and a deal is expected to be signed next month, Japanese media reported today.

The deal covers only 33 of the 35 families, with negotiations between the U.S. Navy and the families of two who died continuing separately, public broadcaster NHK said, citing unidentified sources.

Capt. Richard Evans, who heads the Navy's legal team, is likely to sign the agreement in mid-November, according to Kyodo News agency.

Nine men and teenage boys died when the nuclear-powered USS Greeneville surfaced beneath the trawler Ehime Maru on Feb. 9, 2001, sinking it off the coast of Oahu.

Morio Hatakeyama, chief lawyer representing the families, refused to disclose the exact size and details of the compensation, Kyodo said. The payment would include apology money and cost for the survivors' mental health care.

Under U.S. law, the families have two years from the date of the accident to accept a compensation offer or file a civil lawsuit.

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