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Regarding the Leakage Accident of the Fire Fighting Foam that Contains PFOS at Futenma Airfield (Protest)

Mr. Robert Koepcke
Consul General
Consulate General of the United States
Okinawa, Japan

Regarding the Leakage Accident of the Fire Fighting Foam that Contains PFOS at Futenma Airfield (Protest)

On April 10, 2020 an incident occurred where the fire extinguishing system in a hanger at MCAS Futenma activated and the fire fighting foam that contains PFOS leaked outside the base.

A leakage accident occurred last year in December where fire fighting foam leaked at the same airfield. We were informed that the Force conducted re-training to all military personnel and employees who handle the relevant equipment to ensure a similar accident will not happen.

Nonetheless yet another leakage accident occurred where the fire fighting foam that contains PFOS leaked. We must say the measures that the Force took were not efficient. For the residents who are forced to live side-by-side with the U.S. military ba-ses this is very concerning and should never have happened. It is very regrettable that it did.

According to the survey conducted by the Department of Environmental Af-fairs and Enterprise Bureau of OPG in recent years, a high level of PFOS has been de-tected from the springs in the vicinity of MCAS Futenma and rivers near the Kadena Air Station. The OPG has been requesting to conduct on-site surveys on the base but the U.S. Forces have not permitted the request.

We believe this is an accident where an article in the Agreement on Environmen-tal Stewardship Supplementary to the Japan-U.S. SOFA that states “following a con-temporaneous environmental incident, i.e., a spill” is applicable, and there is a need to promptly conduct an on-site survey.

Therefore, the OPG strongly protest against the leakage accident and request the following:

1.Promptly allow on-site surveys upon the Okinawa Prefectural Government’s re-quest based on the Agreement on Environmental Stewardship Supplementary to the Japan-U.S. SOFA.
2. Promptly collect the contaminants that leaked outside of the base as well and secure the safety of the residents, as well as establish spill response procedures in case of an accident.

3.Conduct environmental surveys and take necessary actions at the site, rivers, and waters to which the contaminants leaked, and disclose the results of the surveys.

4.Investigate, disclose, and provide a detailed report on the cause of the accident.

5.Switch the fire fighting foam to another product that doesn’t contain PFOS at an earliest possible time.

6.Put in place fully effective preventive measures.

Denny Tamaki
Governor of Okinawa Prefecture

Note: This document has been translated from the Japanese original for reference purposes only. In the event of any discrepancy between this translated document and the Japanese original, the origi-nal shall prevail.