Grieving familiesRyosuke Terada was overwhelmed with grief. He screamed and demanded an apology from the captain of the submarine that sank the fishing training vessel Ehime Maru last week, taking the life of his son.
want action, privacy
'The captain of the sub should
come down here and get on his
knees and bow his head to the floor'
By Janine Tully
"My son was a peace-loving boy and was in a boat that had nothing to do with the military. The boat was rammed by the military," Terada said, his voice breaking. "I will never forgive what has been done by the nuclear submarine (the Greenville)."
Then raising his voice and shaking his hands, he shouted, "The captain (Cmdr. Scott Waddle) of the submarine should come down here and get on his knees and bow his head to the floor as a way of an apology."
Families of the nine crew members lost at sea spoke publicly for the first time at a news conference at the East-West Center's Imin International Conference Center. They shed tears, sobbed and at times covered their faces to hide their grief. Some directed their anger toward the Navy for not giving them a blow-by-blow account of what happened.
Once again the families pleaded that the search for the nine missing sailors from the sunken vessel be salvaged.
Masako Takagi, sister-in-law of one of the missing men, chastised the media for calling relatives at the Pagoda Hotel where the families were staying.
"Families don't want to be bothered," Takagi said forcefully. "The families are in deep sorrow." Part of the reason they agreed to have a news conference, she said, was to send a message to the media to "refrain from its aggressive coverage."
'Continue search, raise boat'Takagi also said families are angry at American authorities for not giving straight answers regarding the Feb. 9 collision. She said that when the families left Japan, U.S. Ambassador Thomas Foley had promised them that questions they had about the incident would be answered by authorities here. "But nothing has happened," she said.
Among a list of 30 things the families said they want to know are why the USS Greenville was allowed to conduct training in the area of the accident, what the civilians aboard were doing, why the submarine crew did not help the survivors, and why the Navy declined the help of other vessels.
Shizuko Kimura, who lost her brother, said she does not understand how the United States, the most technologically advanced country in the world, cannot raise a ship. "This should not be so difficult to accomplish. I won't be at peace until my brother's body is found. Please bring back my brother," she said, drawing her fist to her chest and sobbing. Mitsunori Nomoto said he had spoken to his son, Katsuya, a day before the accident. Then he heard about the collision and decided to come to Honolulu. Hoping his son would be still alive, he brought him some clothes. "I want the ship raised as soon as possible," he said.
Kyoichi Furuta wants to return to Japan with his brother-in-law's body.
"We have received apologies from the president on down," Furuta said, "but no word by those who caused the accident, nothing from the captain or crew."
But perhaps the most poignant comments came from Katzuo Nakata, whose son is among the missing.
"This accident is beyond my imagination," Nakata said, his voice choking. "My life has changed drastically. I don't know what I'm going to do now. I have lost the direction for life. I remember the remarks made by President Bush about the U.S. being our closest ally. If so, he should listen to the families' wishes: Continue the search, raise the boat."
The Navy and Coast Guard have renewed efforts to find the missing men: four students, two teachers and three crewmen. Twenty-six men survived the collision 10 miles south of Pearl Harbor.
The Coast Guard sent out two cutters, the Kittiwake and the Kiska, and a helicopter yesterday to continue the search. The guided-missile cruiser USS Port Royal and a Navy P-3 plane were also assisting. A search area of more than 21,000 square miles has been covered since Feb. 9.
Debris put on displayEarlier in the day, some family members of the missing shed tears while looking at debris from the Ehime Maru at a Coast Guard warehouse on Sand Island, according to Coast Guard spokeswoman Lauren Smith, who was present at the viewing.
"It was a somber mood," Smith said. "It was rather traditionally more reserved, but it was definitely emotional. The women showed it more so than the men."
On display were unused orange life jackets and orange lifesavers.
Pieces of the fishing boat, all 10 life rafts and eight white casing halves that held them, which automatically sprung open when they hit the water, and at least one emergency position-indicating radio beacon were also recovered.
The Japanese characters reading "Ehime Maru" marked many of the items.
The Coast Guard kept the family viewing private.
After the viewing, the families were taken by bus along the pier to see a couple of Coast Guard cutters similar to the ones involved in the search for their loved ones.
Family members have also begun returning to Japan. The father of missing student Takeshi Mizuguchi and aunt of missing crew member Toshimichi Furuya arrived in Japan today.
Three other relatives are scheduled to leave tomorrow.
Star-Bulletin reporter Leila Fujimori
contributed to this report.
UWAJIMA, Japan -- Officials in Uwajima today demanded a direct apology from the U.S. military and support for the victims of a collision between a U.S. submarine and a fishing boat owned by a local high school.
info from U.S.
By Mari Yamaguchi
With the U.S. Navy announcing the wreckage of the Ehime Maru had been found on the ocean floor off Hawaii, relatives of the victims wanted the ship raised, hoping for more information about the accident and the fate of nine people still missing.
Navy officials said today that a remote-controlled deep-diving vehicle had located the wreckage of the 190-foot Japanese vessel under 2,033 feet of water. But it remained unclear whether victims' bodies were trapped within its walls.
"It's the first step toward the raising of the ship, although there will be many other things that have to be taken care of," Ehime Governor Moriyuki Kato said. He said the news would be "a huge relief" for bereaved family members.
"The United States has informed Japan that they have found the ship, in one piece, lying parallel to the ocean floor," Kazuhiko Koshikawa, a spokesman for Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori, said late today.
Outside a convenience store in this small town -- the Ehime Maru's home port -- office worker Chiharu Shinoto said of the discovery: "It's really good news for the families. ... I hope the investigation will continue and the cause of the accident is explained clearly."
The USS Greeneville, practicing a quick surfacing maneuver on Feb. 9, smashed into the Ehime Maru, which was carrying high school students on a fisheries training mission, and sent it to the bottom of the sea.
Nine people are still missing, including four students from the school here, despite an intense, weeklong search.
Disappointed and exhausted after the unsuccessful search for their loved ones, two family members -- the father of 17-year-old student Takeshi Taniguchi, and an aunt of crew member Toshimichi Furuya -- returned here late today.
Their faces drawn, the two landed in Matsuyama airport -- the nearest airport to the town -- and hurried to a bus, nodding briefly to local officials who greeted them at the airport.
Uwajima's 25-member municipal assembly unanimously adopted a resolution today calling for a direct apology for the accident, full disclosure of its causes, and medical and psychological support for the victims and their families.
It did not specify who should make the apology.
Officials said the resolution was to be passed on to the provincial government and then handed over to the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo.
Anger over the accident has not waned, and several newspapers published editorials critical of the U.S. military's handling of it.
"It's been already one week and we don't hear even a word of apology from the captain of the submarine," said the Mainichi, a major Japanese newspaper.
U.S. regional Consul-General Robert Ludan visited Ehime state Gov. Moriyuki Kato yesterday to apologize -- the first U.S. official to visit the state and issue a public apology.
In a statement yesterday, Ludan said, "The president has apologized to the Japanese people, I have apologized to the Japanese people, the secretary of defense has apologized and also the secretary of state."
"I don't know how the U.S. government and the people of the United States can more adequately express their regrets and deepest apologies," he added.
Anger has been particularly strong in Uwajima, however, over the piecemeal release of information -- particularly over the role of civilian visitors to the sub, some of whom were at controls during the surfacing maneuver.
"The U.S. military has denied the direct link between the civilians and the accident, but we refuse to accept it," said a commentary in the local Ehime newspaper.
A preliminary report by the U.S. military was expected in the next few days, according to Pentagon officials.
Ludan went today to the local high school in Uwajima and met the school's principal and students, who demanded that the U.S. government recover the ship and make better efforts to disclose information from the search for missing people.