Excavation of Japanese Dump Reveals Agent Orange

The military has been formerly criticized for their use of Agent Orange, a dangerous chemical substance. In January, predecessors to the defoliating chemical compound were discovered on a dump formerly used by United States forces in Okinawa City. Over sixty barrels were found, all containing one of three main ingredients in the manufacture of Agent Orange, and roughly fifty percent of the containers were marked as belonging to the Dow Chemical Company, who made the substance during the Vietnam War.

Traces of ingredients, along with the Dow Chemical Company markings, have many environmental biologists almost completely certain that these containers were once used for the complete compound. At least some of the barrels are now believed to have once been full of Agent Orange, which has broken down to its key ingredients over time. This leads many to conclude that the United States military was hiding these barrels at the dump, burying them so as to hide evidence regarding the extent to which they used the chemical. Currently, the Pentagon is not entertaining the assertion, but numerous veterans have stepped forward and claimed its truth.

The most dangerous ingredient of the chemical compound is dioxin, which is responsible for the health defects associated with its use. Every one of the barrels found at Okinawa is claimed to have included traces of dioxin. The Agent Orange barrels also appear to have contaminated the surrounding soil, as there were increased dioxin levels found around the dumpsite as well. Luckily, the water table appears clean.

It is worth noting that the bulk of the assumptions being made are on the part of biologists. There has been no straightforward assertion by Okinawa officials that these barrels contained, at any point in time, the chemical compound known as Agent Orange. While the Okinawa Defense Bureau is not able to draw such conclusions without more explicit evidence, many civilians are almost positive that the chemical was stored on the island, The Japan Times reports.

Responses from the United States regarding Agent Orange have been mixed since the discovery at Okinawa. While veterans claimed Okinawa was the site of their exposure, the Pentagon outright denies that the island was a site of storage. Meanwhile, the director of public affairs between Japan and United States forces claims that no full comment can be made without receiving a report from Okinawa officials. Whether or not true Agent Orange was used, it appears that traces of harmful dioxin were still buried for some reason or another by the United States in Okinawa.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE