LAWYERS, Navy discuss compensation for U.S. sinking of Japanese vessel

Wednesday, May 9th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

TOKYO (AP) _ U.S. Navy officers met with Japanese officials and lawyers on Wednesday to discuss compensation for survivors and relatives of those killed when an American submarine sank a Japanese high school fishing vessel off Hawaii.

They discussed the process by which the Japanese will submit requests for compensation, said Cmdr. James Graybeal, a spokesman for Yokosuka U.S. Naval Base near Tokyo.

The Japanese did not present a figure, and the group agreed to meet again this month, though a date was not set, Graybeal said.

Attending the meeting were Rear Adm. Robert Chaplin, Nobuyoshi Yano, vice governor of Ehime prefecture (state), where the training vessel was based, and lawyers for some of the survivors and bereaved families.

Katsuya Nagata, an official of the Ehime prefectural (state) government, said officials were not available to comment late Wednesday.

Lawyer Yasuo Hatakeyama, leader of the team representing the Japanese families, did not immediately return a call for comment.

Kyodo News agency quoted Hatakeyama as saying that the Japanese insist on compensation for ``spiritual pain,'' noting symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder among some of the rescued students.

Nine boys and men were killed when the 190-foot Ehime Maru was rammed by the USS Greeneville submarine on Feb. 9. Twenty-six others on the Uwajima Fisheries High School trawler were rescued.

The submarine was demonstrating an emergency surfacing maneuver for 16 civilians aboard. The skipper, Cmdr. Scott Waddle, was stripped of his post and reprimanded, along with four other crew members.