In April 2011, these Community pages published the first accounts of sick U.S. veterans who believe their illnesses were caused by exposure to Agent Orange on Okinawa during the Vietnam War era.
Since that initial article, The Japan Times has published a further dozen stories in which retired service members alleged toxic herbicides were stored and sprayed on the island — as well as buried in large volumes on Futenma air station and in what is now a popular tourist area in Chatan Town. Japanese former base workers have corroborated veterans' accounts and photographs seem to show barrels of these herbicides on Okinawa. U.S. military documents cite the presence of Agent Orange there during the 1960s and '70s.
Suggestions that these poisonous substances were widely used on their island have worried Okinawa residents, and politicians including Okinawa Gov. Hirokazu Nakaima have demanded that the U.S. government come clean on the issue.