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HOME  > Past issues  > 2024 March 27 - April 2  > Kami: Gov’t should urge US to pay for the cost of PFAS countermeasures in Okinawa
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2024 March 27 - April 2 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Kami: Gov’t should urge US to pay for the cost of PFAS countermeasures in Okinawa

March 30, 2024
Japanese Communist Party lawmaker Kami Tomoko on March 21 at a Diet committee meeting said that the government should stop imposing on Okinawans the cost of addressing the dangers of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and urge the U.S. military and the U.S. government to pay for that cost.

At the meeting of the House of Councilors Special Committee on Okinawa Kami pointed out that since 2016, the Okinawa Prefectural government has spent about 2.55 billion yen for PFAS countermeasures, including soil surveys and the introduction of a project to purify PFAS contaminated water. She went on to point out that the prefectural government cited measures to tackle PFAS contamination as a reason for raising water rates from this April.

Kami referred to the Defense Ministry’s program to subsidize the Chatan Purification Plant in Okinawa which provides water services to the U.S. Kadena base, and said that among waterworks facilities across Japan, only this facility receives the ministry’s subsidy.

Asked by Kami about the reason for this, the Deputy Director General of the Defense Ministry’s Bureau of Policies for Regional Society, Yamano Toru, said that the ministry judged that it is appropriate to subsidize the Chatan facility for a stable supply of water to the Kadena Air Base and other U.S. military facilities.

Kami pointed out that the Kadena base is considered to be a potential source of PFAS contamination, and said, “Okinawans are sufferers of PFAS pollution. Then, why do they have to pay all the cost which is supposed to be borne by polluters?”
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