#1
Decades of Pentagon pollution poison service members, residents and future plans for the island

In June, construction workers unearthed more than 20 rusty barrels from beneath a soccer pitch in Okinawa City. The land had once been part of Kadena Air Base — the Pentagon’s largest installation in the Pacific region — but was returned to civilian usage in 1987. Tests revealed that the barrels contained two ingredients of military defoliants used in the Vietnam War: the herbicide 2,4,5-T and 2,3,7,8,-TCDD dioxin. Levels of the highly toxic TCDD in nearby water measured 280 times the safe limit.

The Pentagon has repeatedly denied storing of defoliants — including Agent Orange — on Okinawa. Following the discovery, it distanced itself from the barrels; a spokesperson said the Defense Department was investigating whether they had been buried after the land’s return in 1987, and a U.S. government-sponsored scientist suggested they may merely have contained kitchen or medical waste. However, the conclusions of the Japanese and international scientific community were unequivocal: Not only did the barrels disprove Pentagon denials of the presence of military defoliants in Japan, but the polluted land also posed a threat to the health of local residents and required immediate remediation.


more


Okinawa: the junk heap of the Pacific | The Japan Times