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HOME  > Past issues  > 2015 August 19 - 25  > JCP Akamine investigates into Agent Orange pollution at former US base site
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2015 August 19 - 25 [US FORCES]

JCP Akamine investigates into Agent Orange pollution at former US base site

August 22, 2015
Japanese Communist Party member of the House of Representatives Akamine Seiken on August 21 visited Okinawa City, Okinawa Prefecture, to conduct on-site investigations into an incident where drums polluted with highly-toxic material were found in a former U.S. military base site two years ago.

At the site, excavation and pollution surveys are still being conducted by defense authorities. Local residents fear that when a typhoon hit Okinawa in July, tarps over the site were uncovered and the rainwater washed away the toxic materials, causing pollution in a wide area.

After receiving explanations from officials of the Okinawa Defense Bureau at the site, Akamine said to reporters that he feels anger about the fact that the U.S. military neglected to keep its promise to clean up its premises before returning them to Japan. He went on to say that he was surprised to learn that residents’ concern over pollution is still unsettled after two years. Akamine expressed his intention to take up this issue in the Diet and call for a thorough investigation based on independent experts’ opinions.

In June 2013, Okinawa City found ten-plus empty drums at a construction site of a football field which was a part of the U.S. Kadena Air Base until 1987. On the drums was written, “The Dow Chemical Company”, the name of a U.S. corporation which provided Agent Orange defoliant to the U.S. military during the Vietnam War. Okinawa City and the Okinawa Defense Bureau analyzed the soil around the drums and detected the highly-toxic material dioxin, the main ingredient of Agent Orange. Combined with ones found in a follow-up survey in January 2014, the number of drums found at the site totals 83.

Past related articles:
> JCP Okinawa: state should clean up toxic waste at former US base site [February 14, 2014]
> Buried drums point to Agent Orange having been stored at US base in Okinawa [June 23, 2013]
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