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Captain of Sub Sends Apologies to Victims' Kin

March 01, 2001|From Associated Press

TOKYO — After apologies from President Bush and other top officials, the families of nine Japanese who are missing and presumed dead received the words of remorse they wanted most--from the captain of the U.S. submarine that scattered their loved ones at sea.

Cmdr. Scott Waddle, whose submarine struck and sank a Japanese trawler off Hawaii on Feb. 9, visited a senior Foreign Ministry official at Japan's consulate in Honolulu on Tuesday and hand-delivered 13 letters of apology addressed to the families of the missing victims, Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori and others.

Yoshio Mochizuki, parliamentary secretary for foreign affairs, left Honolulu on Wednesday for Japan with the letters. Before he departed, Mochizuki told reporters that Waddle apologized several times and cried as he delivered the letters.

"When he handed the letters to me, tears were flowing from his eyes," Mochizuki said in Honolulu. "He repeatedly told me, directly, words of apology--'I'm very sorry.' "

The gesture is likely to go a long way toward soothing anger in Japan. The relatives of the missing had demanded that Waddle apologize, and they refused to accept the explanation that legal constraints might be preventing him from doing so.

The other letters were addressed to the trawler's captain, the governor of the prefecture where the missing lived, and the principal of the school that four missing students attended.

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