Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Okinawan mayor urges probe into Agent Orange allegations

Large stacks of 55-gallon drums filled with Agent Orange.
U.S. Army file photo


CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — A local mayor is urging the Japanese government to investigate whether the U.S. buried dozens of barrels of Agent Orange during the Vietnam War at a former U.S. base that was returned to the town three decades ago.

Chatan Mayor Masaharu Noguni said he has urged the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Okinawa governor’s office to conduct a new environmental survey of the former Hamby Airfield after recent media reports claimed the toxic defoliant was buried there.

Earlier this week, the Japan Times ran a front-page story in which an unnamed U.S. veteran said he helped bury the Agent Orange at Hamby in the late 1960s. Other Vietnam veterans also said they handled the defoliant while stationed on Okinawa, according to the paper.

It was the second time this summer that the U.S. military in Asia has been accused of burying Agent Orange on its bases. Three Vietnam veterans clahttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifimed they buried it on Camp Carroll in South Korea, but so far joint testing by the U.S. and South Korea has found no trace.

U.S. Forces Japan officials said Friday that Agent Orange was never used or stored on Okinawa.

READ MORE: http://www.stripes.com/news/pacific/okinawa/okinawan-mayor-urges-probe-into-agent-orange-allegations-1.152587

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