In the late 1960s, the U.S. military buried dozens of barrels of the toxic defoliant Agent Orange in an area around the town of Chatan on Okinawa Island, an American veteran has told The Japan Times.
The U.S. government has repeatedly maintained that it has no records pertaining to the use of Agent Orange in Okinawa.
Following the removal of the damaged barrels, the veteran claims he then witnessed the army bury them in a large pit. “They dug a long trench. It must have been over 150 feet (46 meters) long. They had pairs of cranes and they lifted up the containers. Then they shook out all of the barrels into the trench. After that, they covered them over with earth.”
Over the past six months, The Japan Times has gathered firsthand testimony from a dozen U.S. veterans who claim to have stored, sprayed and transported Agent Orange on nine U.S. military installations on Okinawa — including the Kadena air base and Futenma air station — between the mid-1960s and 1975.
Okinawans expressed concern over the issue. A retired teacher whose school was located near one of the nine bases where Agent Orange had been sprayed recently explained how several of her students had died of leukemia — one of the diseases listed by the U.S. government as caused by exposure to dioxin.
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