National

Okinawa conducts on-site probe over toxic spillage at Futenma base

Jiji

Local governments in Okinawa Prefecture have conducted an on-site investigation into a spillage of toxic material at U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in the city of Ginowan in the prefecture.

The probe, also involving central government officials, was conducted Tuesday based on the Japan-U.S. agreement on environmental stewardship supplementary to the bilateral status of forces pact, which governs the U.S. military presence in Japan.

Participants collected water samples from the drainage system to check concentrations of perfluorooctanesulfonic acid, a toxic substance known as PFOS that was contained in 227,100 liters of fire-extinguishing foam spilled from a facility at the base on April 10.

The probe was conducted by a group of 10 people, including a senior prefectural government official, Ginowan Mayor Masanori Matsugawa and officials from the defense, foreign and environment ministries.

Soil samples were not collected despite a request by the prefectural government to do so.

“We want to make sure that we can enter again for further investigation,” Matsugawa told reporters.

Last Thursday the three ministries conducted an on-site investigation under the 2015 supplementary agreement for the first time. They drew criticism from local governments as the investigation was carried out without them receiving prior notice.

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