On Sept. 26, Nago City Council became the first municipality on Okinawa to adopt an official resolution calling for the governments of Japan and the United States to conduct an investigation into the spraying and storage of Agent Orange on the island.

The councilors' unanimous decision came in the wake of three months of extensive media coverage — including from The Japan Times — alleging the use of the toxic defoliant on more than a dozen bases during the 1960s and '70s. Citing the potential threats posed to residents' health and the environment, the resolution called for immediate action under a 1973 Japan-U.S. Joint Committee agreement which states that local authorities "may request the local base commander to make an investigation, the results of which should be made known . . . as promptly as possible."

The demand is likely to cause consternation in both Tokyo and Washington. Nago is host to Camp Schwab, the U.S. Marine Corps installation on the Henoko Peninsula that the Japanese and American governments are pushing as the relocation site for Futenma Air Station. The issue of what to do about the air base, which at the moment sits in the center of Ginowan city, also on Okinawa, has been a thorn in the side of U.S.-Japanese relations for years.