Uwajima's families held out hope for the missing loved ones, and some relatives have headed for Hawaii. But for many, the initial shock gave way to despair and anger.
The missing crew members all came from the small fishing port in Uwajima, a hundred miles south of Hiroshima. The students aboard all went to the local fisheries high school. The exercise, which had been scheduled to last through March 23, to Hawaii was part of their training in deep-sea fishing.
Throughout the town, people gathered around televisions, anxious for more information.
"It's a bit chaotic right now," said Uwajima municipal official Masanori Mori. "There's a great deal of shock."
Among some Japanese, there already is distrust of the U.S. military because of a series of crimes by U.S. servicemen stationed in the island nation. The U.S. military has about 47,000 personnel in Japan.
On Sunday, a group of relatives, teachers and Uwajima officials plan to leave for Hawaii, to try to get answers about the accident.
ABCNEWS' Mark Litke, John McWethy, and ABCNEWS.com's Peter Hadfield in Tokyo contributed to this report.