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unhappycamper's Journal
Posted by unhappycamper in General Discussion
Tue Nov 29th 2011, 05:53 AM
Agent Orange on Okinawa - New Evidence
Monday 28 November 2011
by: Jon Mitchell, The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus | Report

In September 2011, The Asia-Pacific Journal published my research into the presence of US military defoliants, including Agent Orange, on Okinawa during the 1960s and early ‘70s.#1 Drawing on the testimonies of over 20 US veterans who had served on the island at a time when it was a forward staging post for the war in Vietnam, the article catalogued the storage, spraying and burial of these dioxin-tainted chemicals on 14 American installations from the Yambaru jungles in northern Okinawa to Naha Port in the south. Despite this large number of firsthand accounts, however, the Pentagon continues to deny that military defoliants were ever on the island.

Fuelled by the September article - as well as others I have written for The Japan Times and investigations conducted by journalists from the Okinawa Times - Okinawa’s politicians and activists have now demanded that both the Japanese and US governments allay residents’ concerns by coming clean on the usage of Agent Orange on the island.#2 This tide of anger culminated on October 28th when Okinawa's governor, Nakaima Hirokazu, met with John V. Roos, the US Ambassador to Tokyo, and requested that he launch an investigation into the issue. Roos reportedly replied that he would do so assiduously.#3

With new information regarding the presence of these defoliants on Okinawa emerging rapidly, this article aims to update readers on the most significant developments. First, it looks at the recent statement from a senior US official who claims defoliants were tested on the island between 1960 and 1962. Next, it examines a 1966 Air Force document which seems to debunk contemporary Department of Defense denials that herbicides were ever present on Okinawa. Following this, the article explores new evidence that these defoliants were used post-1972 - specifically on Iejima Island as well as at Camp Foster and MCAS Futenma. Finally, it outlines the press conference I held in Nago City on November 4th where, for the first time, Okinawan residents told the media about their experiences of US defoliant usage on their island.

~snip~

Service members stationed on the north of the island at the time in question substantiate the Okinawa Times story. One veteran who was on Okinawa between 1961 and 1962 claims that, during war games in the Yambaru, he witnessed defoliated sectors of jungle. Having bivouacked in these areas, he is now suffering from several diseases that the US government lists as dioxin-related - and he believes were caused by his experiences in the Yambaru. Adding weight to the high-ranking official’s account is the fact that, to date, the only case in which the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has paid compensation for sicknesses contracted from defoliant exposure on Okinawa was to a former Marine Corps truck driver who came into contact with these chemicals between 1961 and 1962 when they were “used in Northern Okinawa for War Games training”.#7
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MA, trotting towards fascism
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