“We can’t allow children to drink” water containing harmful PFAS – protest assembly in Ginowan draws 400 people

“We can’t allow children to drink” water containing harmful PFAS – protest assembly in Ginowan draws 400 people

Representative Naomi Machida reading the resolution asking for a blood work and epidemiological survey for those affected by the PFAS-contaminated water – April 10, Ginowan Community Center

April 12, 2022 Ryukyu Shimpo

By Wakana Arakaki and Shugo Asato


Ginowan – We cannot allow our children and grandchildren to drink water that contains harmful substances, argues the “Take back our clean water! Protect life from pollution of polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) committee” at a citizen’s assembly they hosted on April 10 at Ginowan Community Center. The day of the meeting marked the two-year anniversary of the discovery that fire extinguishing foam containing PFAS has leaked out from MCAS Futenma. The assembly drew a crowd of 442 people, where they adopted a resolution to petition the Okinawa Prefectural Assembly to conduct a bloodwork survey on Okinawans to determine the impact the incident had on their health.

The assembly featured speakers from Kadena, Kin, Chatan, Ginowan, Uruma and Naha. Because PFAS have a composition that is difficult to analyze, they indicated that a storage solution would be necessary. There were voices concerned about the health risks of PFAS in drinking water as well as the effect it would have on soil.

Eiwa Miyagi, from Uruma, touched on the incident where fire extinguishing liquid co

Participants at the assembly calling out the dangers of water polluted by PFAS

ntaining PFAS had leaked out from a U.S. military oil depot in June of last year, stressing, “This could happen anywhere there is a base. This is a matter of life or death.” Yumi Nakasone, from Chatan, said, “It is unbearable to think that our children could have been drinking water containing harmful chemicals. It is time for all Okinawans to come together in solidarity to protect our lives and safety.”

According to a survey of environmental pollution caused by the U.S. military, being conducted by journalist Jon Mitchell, PFAS in the United States is an emerging trend. He stresses that he needs to be allowed entry into the bases to determine the source of the pollution, and that the U.S.-Japan Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) needs to be revised to indicate that the U.S. military should be responsible for the cleanup.

In the petition, the group asks that 1. A blood work and epidemiological survey be conducted for the seven towns that receive water from the Chatan purification plant, as well as Kin and Uruma, and 2. The survey be administered to both parents and children. The committee plans on sending the petition and written resolution to the U.S. government, the U.S. military, Japan’s central government, Okinawa Prefecture and the Okinawa Prefectural Assembly.

(English translation by T&CT and Sam Grieb)



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