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HOME  > Past issues  > 2024 February 28 - March 5  > Environment Minister: Japan will no longer shoulder US military’s PCB waste treatment
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2024 February 28 - March 5 TOP3 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Environment Minister: Japan will no longer shoulder US military’s PCB waste treatment

March 4, 2024

The U.S. military in 2002 promised to “transfer toxic PCB waste” generated at its bases in Japan to the U.S. mainland. However, Japan’s Ministry of Defense, despite no legal obligation, continues to shoulder the responsibility and cost of disposing of U.S. PCB waste.

Japanese Communist Party member of the House of Representatives Tamura Takaaki on February 28 took up this issue at a subcommittee meeting of the Lower House Budget Committee.

It came to light last year that the Defense Ministry for many years had secretly taken in PCB waste held by U.S. forces in Japan and had disposed of their PCBs at Japan’s government-funded treatment facilities.

The Defense Ministry, associated with the planned closure of three PCB disposal stations in western Japan, is considering bringing in U.S. PCBs to a plant in Muroran City (Hokkaido Pref.).

Tamura pointed out that residents in the vicinity of the plant are voicing their concerns about possible health hazards, and asked if the Japanese government will continue to dispose of the U.S. military’s PCB waste in Japan.

Environment Minister Ito Shintaro answered, “We do not intend to process it in Japan.”

The minister’s statement that Japan will no longer process U.S. military PCBs neglects the Defense Ministry’s attempt to keep processing U.S. PCBs in Japan.

Tamura said, “If Japan does not dispose of U.S. PCB waste in Japan, the only way will be to have the U.S. military take it back to U.S. territory.” He demanded that Japan negotiate with the United States to have the U.S. military take its PCB waste back to U.S. territory.
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