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2023 November 1 - 7 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Yamazoe grills Defense Ministry officials about PFAS leakage at US Yokota Base

November 7, 2023

Japanese Communist Party member of the House of Councilors Yamazoe Taku on November 6 held a hearing with Defense Ministry representatives in regard to a recent news report that a leakage involving a high level of toxic PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) occurred in January at the U.S. Yokota Air Base located in western Tokyo.

The leakage incident was revealed in British journalist Jon Mitchell’s investigative article which Okinawa’s major daily, Okinawa Times, carried three days earlier. According to the article, in the leakage, PFAS concentrations 54,400 times greater than the Japanese government-set standards were detected at the base.

In the hearing, in response to a question asked by the JCP lawmaker, a Defense Ministry official said, “The ministry made an inquiry but has not yet received a reply from the U.S. military.” Regarding the amount leaked, the ministry official said that the ministry is waiting for information from the U.S. military.

Yamazoe pointed out, “Judging from a photo attached to the Okinawa Times’ article, it is strongly suspected that hazardous substances have leaked outside the Yokota base,” and demanded that the ministry obtain from the U.S. military information regarding the PFAS leakage without delay and thoroughly investigate the matter by such means as conducting an on-site probe.

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