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Pentagon denies burying Agent Orange in Okinawa
Japan Times - August 21, 2011
"The US Department of Defense said that it once again reviewed past records and found no documents confirming that the US military stored or used defoliant in Okinawa before its reversion" to Japan, the ministry said in a statement late Friday.
But the ministry added that it is taking measures to learn "further details of the facts" from the US government. No information could be released, however, on what the Japanese government was still trying to confirm with the US, a Foreign Ministry official said.
"We are not saying the issue has been resolved because the US answered our question. We are continuing the exchange," the official said. The US "said there were no (records), but there have been testimonies and... there were parts in the US response that needed further confirmation."
Recent media reports, including by The Japan Times, have covered accounts by former US military personnel saying the US military stored and used Agent Orange in Okinawa in the late 1960s.
The media also reported on the allegations in 2007, but the US government gave Japan the same answer: "no documents backed (allegations over) the possession or use of defoliant," the Foreign Ministry said.
Meanwhile, in May, Washington and Seoul decided to conduct a joint investigation following media reports that the US military buried Agent Orange at a base in South Korea.
Foreign Minister Takeaki Matsumoto refused in a recent session of the Upper House Foreign Affairs Committee to clarify if Japan would demand a similar probe. "This is a matter of strong concern and I would like to make efforts to respond" to the people's concern, Matsumoto told the panel earlier this month.