Symposium about unexploded ordnance held in Naha

Symposium about unexploded ordnance held in Naha

At the symposium held at the Okinawa Prefectural Youth Center, Naha on March 3, four panelists exchanged opinions on the issue of unexploded ordnance in Okinawa, Cambodia and Laos.

March 4, 2012 Ryukyu Shimpo

At the Okinawa Prefectural Youth Center on March 3, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) held a symposium entitled “Symposium on unexploded ordnance – Thinking about world peace from below.” Four panelists discussed the issue as it pertains to Okinawa, Cambodia and Laos and all participants agreed to promote nationwide awareness of the problem in Okinawa.

The director of JICA Okinawa International Center Toshihiro Obata said, “Unexploded ordnance poses a serious and ongoing risk to people in Okinawa. Everyone in Japan needs to be aware of this.”

Former member of the Japanese national soccer team Tsuyoshi Kitazawa, who is also an official supporter of JICA, remembered seeing disposal operations conducted in Laos and Cambodia. He said, “I heard an explosion when the operation was being carried out and it has stuck my mind.” Kitazawa commented that he has seen magnetic surveys to detect unexploded ordnance being carried out in Okinawa and went on to say, “People in the main islands of Japan do not know the reality of the situation in Okinawa.”

With regard to disposal of a U.S. artillery shell found on the site of the Ureshinogaoka-Samaritan Hospital in the Arakawa district of Haebaru last year, Yoshiaki Matsuno, senior officer Planning and Coordination of the Development Construction Department of the Okinawa General Bureau, said, “Safety of the residents is our main concern when disposing of this shell.”

Lao National Unexploded Ordnance Programme ,National Programme Director Bounpone Sayasenh said, “The U.S. military created the problem in Laos so the U.S. government should do something to solve it.”

(English translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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