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
“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