Foreign Ministry does not intend to investigate the Agent Orange issue in Okinawa

November 25, 2011 Ryukyu Shimpo

On November 24, the Okinawa Liaison Office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that it will not carry out additional research regarding articles reporting U.S. veterans’ claims that a highly toxic defoliant containing dioxin was used extensively in the U.S. military facilities in northern Okinawa. The reason for this is that “The U.S. government doubts the credibility of these articles.” The Office said this in response to Yuichi Higa, the head of the Nago City Council and others having that day submitted a written request for an explanation for the issue and implementation of environmental investigation around the facilities.

Makoto Iyori, the deputy director of the Office, who met with them, said, “The Japanese government does not plan to conduct additional research on this matter. We understand that the Chatan Town authorities are collecting information on the issue and we will consider conducting research if new information is presented.”
According to Iyori, in response to a request from the Office, the U.S. government confirmed its stance on the reports and cast doubt on their validity, stating firstly that the U.S. military would not store defoliant along with other chemicals as shown in the photograph with the article, and secondly that a container storing defoliant would have a sign on it.

Zenkou Nakamura, a member of Nago City Council retorted, “The Foreign Ministry should pro-actively investigate this issue without waiting for new evidence to be produced.”

(English Translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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