TOKYO >> Some family members of victims of the U.S. submarine collision off Hawaii said today the United States must come clean on its responsibility before it talks of compensation. A family lawyer said they still may sue.
Ehime Maru familiesAssociated Press
resist U.S. settlement
Relatives claim that the Japanese and U.S. governments are trying to settle the Feb. 9 accident that killed nine Japanese even though a clear picture has yet to emerge on the cause and fault of the collision.
Lawyers for the families said talks on compensation are premature because they still may sue the United States based on the information Washington discloses in the future.
"We still don't know the whole truth, including the issue of responsibility," lawyer Shinsuke Kimura told a press conference in Tokyo. "We must ask the U.S. government and Navy for complete provision of information before deciding what we will demand."
Families of the victims are split on the issue of compensation. Yesterday, a group of relatives of the victims met with U.S. Navy officials and lawyers to discuss compensation.
But Kimura represents a group of eight family members and 26 lawyers who are refusing to merely accept payments from the U.S. government.
The nine Japanese were killed when the USS Greeneville rammed and sank the Ehime Maru in waters off Oahu. The victims were from a fisheries high school in Uwajima.
Japanese officials haven't fully gauged the accident's psychological impact on family members of the missing, and many of the survivors still suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, the lawyers said.
They are particularly upset that Greeneville's skipper, Cmdr. Scott Waddle, was merely given a letter of reprimand as punishment. The lawyers said there are strong feelings in Japan that Waddle should face a court-martial.