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Paint balls found on Fukuchi Dam

Date Posted: 2007-01-12

A military watchdog group is accusing the US Army of carelessly dumping unwanted paint balls down the side of a northern Okinawa dam.

Okubo, the Secretary-General of Okinawa Peace Committee, says the Army “may have thrown out the rest of its paint balls because it couldn’t manage them after training.” He said “it’s possible the were thrown into the dam”, Fukuchi Dam at Higashi Village, and said the military should be more careful “in managing gunpowder things. It’s unpardonable that careless unlawful dumping to the water” is allowed.

Government officials say they do not know, for fact, that the paint balls are of a military origin. The paint balls used by the military as part of its combat training are blue and pink color. Those discovered at Fukuchi Dam are in an area used by the U.S. for combat training exercises.

“If the American Army did it,” says Okinawa University President Sakurai, “we need to demand explanations and pursue responsibility.” Sakurai’s background is in environmental science.

Other protests are coming from the Peace Civic Group, where representative Taira says the issue is more than simply paint balls. “It is difficult to tolerate the training itself,” he says, “even though they hint the paint balls may have been lost or left by accident.” Taira says he feels strongly that there must be more than just words promising “official discipline”.

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