Monday, November 3, 2014

Japan, U.S. accused of failing Okinawa residents, veterans allegedly sickened by Agent Orange
A journalist who has documented the alleged existence of Agent Orange on Okinawa has accused Tokyo and Washington of side-stepping their responsibilities to local residents and military personnel who may have been exposed to the toxic defoliant.
Jon Mitchell, a research associate at Meiji Gakuin University’s International Peace Research Institute, said the Japanese government has failed to investigate whether military toxins contaminated local seafood farms, and U.S. authorities have dodged the truth about what happened to the more than 250 veterans who reported ill health.
“These people, they deserve better. These people deserve justice,” Mitchell told a press conference Thursday at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan in Tokyo. He was speaking a day before a Japanese translation of his book on the subject hit the stores.
“The usage of Agent Orange and military defoliants is one of the best-kept secrets of the Cold War,” he said.
Mitchell has written extensively for The Japan Times about Agent Orange, often focusing on Pentagon negligence. He also documented the discovery this summer on former military land in Okinawa dozens of barrels containing traces of the chemical precursors to Agent Orange.
“Some of the local residents in Nago, they believe Agent Orange wiped out the seaweed farms in the area. In addition, it may have poisoned clam collectors,” Mitchell said, referring to the city selected to become the new home of unpopular U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma.

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