Just days after the commander of U.S. Kadena Air Base, near the city of Okinawa, promised parents their children's schools were safe from dioxin contamination, a further 50 chemical barrels have been unearthed from adjacent land and a retired U.S. Air Force major has come forward with claims the school grounds are located near a former dump-and-burn site for waste that included military defoliants.

In addition, a growing number of parents affiliated with the base believe their children's serious illnesses may have been caused by dioxin exposure.

Last Tuesday, at a hastily convened meeting, 18th Wing Commander Brig. Gen. James Hecker admitted to parents that he ought to have informed them of the contamination next to the playing fields of Bob Hope Primary School and Amelia Earhart Intermediate School as soon as he learned of the problem last summer.