Friday, August 21, 2015

U.S. marine wins compensation for Okinawa toxin exposure and calls for tests on residents near Futenma
The U.S. government has awarded compensation to the ailing former marine at the center of allegations that Agent Orange was dumped on Futenma Air Base in Okinawa.
On Aug. 10 the Board of Veterans’ Appeals ruled that retired Lt. Col. Kris Roberts, chief of maintenance at the installation in the early 1980s, had developed prostate cancer due to “exposure to hazardous chemicals.” The presiding judge based the decision on evidence including medical reports, statements and “photographs of barrels being removed from the ground.”
However, the carefully worded ruling avoids specific reference to Agent Orange, which the Pentagon denies was stored on its Okinawa bases.
Roberts is the first veteran known to have won compensation for exposure on Futenma, and now he is urging the military to come clean about what really happened at the air base.
“The Marine Corps has a moral and ethical obligation to alert others who may have been exposed,” he said in a telephone interview.
According to Roberts, he was ordered in 1981 to investigate high chemical readings detected in waste water running from the installation into neighboring communities in and around Ginowan, the city that surrounds Futenma. After checking the area of concern near one of the base’s runways, Roberts and his team unearthed more than 100 chemical barrels, some marked with the tell-tale orange stripes used to label defoliants. On orders from Futenma’s top brass, Roberts says the barrels were moved by Okinawan base workers to an undisclosed location.
After the discovery, Roberts developed a number of serious illnesses, including heart disease and prostate cancer.

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