Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Patience, please



Loyal Readers,

As you might have read in your newspapers, things have been truly hectic these past few weeks.

I have been traveling back and forth between Vietnam and Okinawa chasing the trail of Agent Orange that connects these two beautiful places together.

The documentary evidence is stacking up and the Pentagon is poised on the brink of releasing its 9-month investigation into my research.

I have been forced to focus every waking moment on responding to the torrent of mails/leads/information from U.S. veterans, Okinawan civilians and Vietnamese academics...

Sometimes I manage to squeak out a tweet - here - but for the foreseeable I will be a little preoccupied elsewhere,

Apologies, sincerities and よろしく,

JM

Friday, 23 November 2012

defoliated island - agent orange, okinawa and the vietnam war




On May 15 2012, Ryukyu Asahi Broadcasting aired a primetime TV documentary to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Okinawa’s reversion to Japanese control. Titled “Defoliated Island - Agent Orange, Okinawa and the Vietnam War,” the program featured 7 U.S. service members who were exposed to military defoliants on the island during the 1960s and early ‘70s. 

As well as these accounts, it showed interviews with Okinawan civilians worried that they, too, have been affected by these dioxin-tainted herbicides which continue to sicken millions of people in Vietnam today.

The documentary was based largely upon the interviews with dozens of U.S. veterans poisoned by these chemicals in Okinawa on more than 15 U.S. installations on the island. It also explored the possibility that it was buried in Chatan (today a popular tourist town) and the much-despised Marine Corps base at Futenma

In August, the discovery of a U.S. army report appeared to provide the smoking gun that 25,000 barrels of Agent Orange had been stored in Okinawa during the Vietnam War.

Despite this wealth of evidence, the U.S. government has repeatedly denied that Agent Orange was ever on the island. As a result, hundreds of sick American veterans have been refused medical assistance and the Japanese government has been able to reject calls from citizens’ groups for health surveys and environmental testing in the island.

In November 2012, Japan’s Association of Commercial Broadcasters awarded the documentary a Commendation for Excellence and shortlisted it for a prestigious Broadcast Culture Award. This is a rare nod from the mainland (Japanese) media that all too often shy away from Okinawan issues.

The documentary has now been made available in English. It is hoped that the English version will help to convince the governments of Japan and the USA to finally acknowledge the poisoning of American veterans and pave the way for long-overdue investigations into the health impact on Okinawa civilians as well as the environmental damage to their communities.

Click here to watch the documentary.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

moth-balled




dear loyal readers


it's time to sit back, pour a scotch, crank up the airconditioning and set the mothballs for the summer


instead of keeping you all on tenterhooks waiting for the next updates, i have decided to temporarily put this blog on hold from june 17th, 2012 until december 31st 2012


the past 12 months have been a blur of poetry, tv documentaries,  and newspaper headlines - and by the end of most days i can barely write a shopping list, let alone a coherent blog update


please bear with me and rest assured i have not forsaken you


for a jon-fix, you can find me here 


for movie updates, check here


for the latest news i've covered, take a look here 


/and if you just fancy a picture of me as a little boy, click here/


stay safe, sweet dreams and ご安全に,


jon

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Defoliated Island 枯れ葉剤を浴びた島


The publicity machine is cranking into gear for the first of our documentaries about the U.S. military's cover-up of its usage of Agent Orange on Okinawa during the Vietnam War.

The first program will air on QAB - May 15th 7pm - to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Okinawa's reversion to Japanese rule.




琉球朝日放送 2012年05月15日 (火) 19:00 ~ 19:54

沖縄なくしてベトナム戦争を続けることはできないー。米高官にこう言わしめるほど、ベトナム戦争と深く関わっていた沖縄。

あれから約半世紀…。沖縄では退役米軍人たちの証言が波紋を広げている。ベトナムで約300万人にガンや糖尿病、出産異常などの被害をもたらした“エージェントオレンジ”と呼ばれる枯れ葉剤。それが沖縄でも使われていたというのだ。

事の発端は2011年4月、英国系フリージャーナリストのジョン・ミッチェル氏が英字新聞「ジャパンタイムズ」に掲載した記事だった。タイトルは「沖縄における枯れ葉剤の証拠」。ミッチェル氏は、沖縄の米軍施設で枯れ葉剤が保管、使用されていたという元軍人たちの証言を得たという。

番組では枯れ葉剤問題に取り組むミッチェル氏を通して、沖縄における枯れ葉剤被害運動のリーダー、シパラ氏をはじめ退役米軍人の証言や、現在の暮らしぶりを紹介する。また、ベトナム戦争の最中、アメリカ軍が沖縄をどう位置づけていたのかを検証するほか、沖縄が経てきた戦争被害者、そして加害者としての歴史をひも解いていく。

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Agent Orange on Okinawa - Anniversary #1





April 12th 2012 marks one year since The Japan Times first published the testimonies of three US veterans regarding their exposure to herbicides on Okinawa. Since then, a further 30 former service members have spoken out about their experiences of loading, storing and spraying Agent Orange on the island.

While Ryukyu Asahi Broadcasting and Okinawa Times have pursued this story from the very beginning, the mainland Japanese media has adopted its all-too-familiar attitude of ignoring the injustices perpetrated on the island. 

However all that seems set to change with the announcement by tv-asahi that it will air a 90-minute documentary on the issue on May 20th. 

The program, The Scoop Special, will be filmed in Okinawa, Vietnam and the US - and it will feature interviews with former service members, Ryukyu base workers, Goro Nakamura and me.

Optimists among you will hope that this show will help shatter the pentagon's wall of denials - but I'm a realist. We all know what's at stake and the powers-that-be will dig in hard and dirty all those involved before it ever gives an inch.

Still - we can but keep the faith and keep fighting the good fight...

jm