Saturday, September 15, 2012

Okinawa and Agent Orange Contamination

U.S. Agent Orange activist brings message of solidarity to Okinawa
Heather Bowser tells locals to start organizing and demand disclosure from government

Directly affected: Second-generation Agent Orange survivor Heather Bowser, who visited Okinawa in late August, is interviewed at a location overlooking U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in Ginowan. JON MITCHELL

Saturday, Sep. 15, 2012 - Residents of Okinawa Island have recently been confronted with mounting evidence that their land used to be a major storage site for the toxic U.S. defoliant Agent Orange.

Over the past 18 months, dozens of American veterans have claimed that they were poisoned by the dioxin-tainted chemical while stationed on Okinawa Island during the Vietnam War. At the time, the island was under U.S. jurisdiction and a staging post for the conflict in Southeast Asia in which millions of liters of defoliant was sprayed in an attempt to rob enemy forces of jungle cover and crops. Last month, a U.S. Army document was discovered that seems to prove Okinawa veterans' claims; the report states that 25,000 barrels of Agent Orange were stored on the island prior to 1972.

Despite this apparent confirmation, the U.S. government denies that Agent Orange was ever in Okinawa and Tokyo has refused to conduct environmental tests. The two governments' intransigence has angered Okinawa residents and left many of them seeking answers about the potential impact on their island. Last month, they were given the opportunity to speak firsthand to someone who has dedicated her life to spreading awareness about the dangers of these defoliants. read more>>>

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