TOKYO – At a meeting of the Lower House Special Committee on Okinawa and the Northern Problems on Dec. 3, Foreign Minister Taro Kono explained that with regard to requesting access to U.S. military bases under the Japan-U.S. Environmental Agreement to Supplement SOFA, information should be provided by the U.S. side in principle.
Lower House member Seiken Akamine (JCP) reminded that the prefecture has not been permitted to access the [Kadena Air] base even though organic fluorine compound perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) has been discovered in high concentration in the source of water supply for the Chatan Water Purification Plant.
Foreign Minister Kono said: “Even if there has been no notification from the U.S. side, it is possible to request the U.S. side to conduct an investigation or ask for permission to access a U.S. military base under existing Japan-U.S. Joint Committee agreements if the Japan side has suspicions of environmental pollution.” He cited the case where representatives of the City of Ginowan accessed Futenma Air Station in 2016.
The person in charge of this matter from the Ministry of Defense simply said, “Okinawa Prefecture has requested the U.S. side to conduct a water quality investigation at the Kadena Air Base, but it has not been done. We take it seriously that the people of Okinawa have concerns about this.”