Results from PFAS testing at 39 sites in Japan show serious contamination

Results from PFAS testing at 39 sites in Japan show serious contamination
Poisoned surface water and groundwater threaten human health.
By Pat Elder July 18, 2024 Online here.
(L) PFAS sampling  location;   (R) Adjacent Misawa fishing pond.
The red marker in the photo on the left shows the site of a water sample collected at the Misawa fishing pond adjacent to Misawa Air Base, home to the Japan Air Self-Defense Force, the US Air Force, and the US Navy. The photo also captures the fire training pit about 400 meters west of the sample site. The pond is beautiful, but the fish are likely to be highly carcinogenic due to dangerous levels of PFAS in the water.  

In May and June of this year environmental activists in Japan used water test kits we provided to sample surface water and well water at 40 sites throughout the country. One test kit was missing in action, so we have 39 sets of results, shown here, alphabetically by the name of the town.See the full report here.

Throughout Japan we found 27 PFAS compounds using the simple, inexpensive, and accurate Cyclopure test kit. See the compounds listed here.The government of Japan has set a voluntary target of 50 nanograms per liter (ng/L or parts per trillion) for the combined total of just two PFAS compounds known as PFOS and PFOA in tap water and rivers. These compounds are no longer in use and have been replaced by many of the compounds shown above. They are all hazardous to health and many have been shown to bioaccumulate in living organisms like aquatic life, farm animals, and humans. Japanese provisional exceedances are shown below in bold. Using this relaxed measure, 12 of the 39 locations we tested show exceedances.
Just 1 part per trillion daily of some of these compounds in drinking water may be associated with the increased likelihood of disease and cancer, while fish in Japan have been shown to contain hundreds of thousands of parts per trillion of PFAS.
The US has established enforceable limits for five PFAS compounds in drinking water: PFOS 4 ppt; PFOA 4; PFHxS 10; PFNA 10; and HFPO-DA (Gen X) 10.It’s a good step, but it is not fully protective of our health.
Applying the American limits shows exceedances at 24 of the 39 sites.
We were unable to detect PFAS from four samples taken from ocean water at the US Navy’s Fleet Activities Yokosuka. We wanted to test at that location because the Navy reported releasing wastewater nearby containing 12,900 ppt of PFOA in September of 2022. PFOA tends to bind to sediment while the prevailing currents at the outfall may initially take the chemicals out to the sea. The particularly deadly compound, PFOA is known to bioaccumulate in crustaceans. It doesn’t go away. This is a great crime against humanity. It’s just that humanity doesn’t understand it yet.
PFOS, a chemical that is sort of monitored by the Japanese government, is a great threat to human health because it bioaccumulates in fish. Just 1 part per trillion of PFOS in surface water may begin the bio accumulative process in aquatic life. PFOS gathers in fish filet from several hundred to two thousand times the ambient water levels.
Japan is in trouble.

All measurements in ng/L or ppt.
See the full report here.
Akishima, Tokyo 196-0025 (well water)PFOS 24.8; PFOA 5.1; Total PFAS 51.5
Akisima, Tokyo 196-0022 (well water)PFOS 4.1; PFOA 2.5 Total PFAS 12.5
Chatan, Okinawa 904-0116PFOS 18.8; PFOA 3.6; Total PFAS 56.9
Chatan, Okinawa 904-0113PFOS 1; PFOA 0; Total PFAS 1
5. Fujiidera, Osaka 583-0012PFOS 1.1; PFOA 4.2; Total PFAS 9.2
Ginowan, Okinawa 901-2223PFOS 259.8; PFOA 58.4; Total PFAS 624.1
Ginowan, Okinawa 901-2221PFOS 101.4; PFOA 10; Total PFAS 193.3
Ginowan, Okinawa 901-2226PFOS 3.3; PFOA 1.0; Total PFAS 5.4
Higashi, Hiroshima 739-0147PFOS 132.2; PFOA 2.5; Total PFAS 190.5
10. Ishigaki, Okinawa 907-0003PFOS 0; PFOA 1.5; Total PFAS 9.3
Iwakuni, Yamaguchi 740-0025PFOS 63.4; PFOA 25.9; Total PFAS 148.9
Iwakuni, Yamaguchi 740-0031PFOS 0; PFOA 0; Total PFAS 1.3
Kadena, Okinawa 904-0202PFOS 546.9; PFOA 56.3; Total PFAS 1,300.2
Kadena, Okinawa 904-0202PFOS 92.5; PFOA 6; Total PFAS 165.5
15. Kadena, Nakagami District, Okinawa 904-0203PFOS 57; PFOA 4.3; Total PFAS 111.5
Kim, Okinawa 904-1203PFOS 22; PFOA 2.7; Total PFAS 44.1
Kim, Okinawa 904-1201PFOS 2.5; PFOA 3.9; Total PFAS 13.5
Kim, Okinawa 904-1203PFOS 20.9; PFOA 9.4; Total PFAS 206.5
Misawa, Aomari 033-0022PFOS 774.4; PFOA 38.4; Total PFAS 1,447.5
20. Misawa, Aomari 033-0022PFOS 12.7; PFOA 2.3; Total PFAS 34.7
Miyako Zima, Okinawa 906-0303PFOS 0; PFOA 0; Total PFAS 0
Nago, Okinawa 905-2171Total PFAS 0
Naha, Okinawa 901-0155 PFOS 271.3 ppt; PFOA 1.9 ppt; Total PFAS 310.6 ppt
Naha, Okinawa 901-0145PFOS 1.7; PFOA 0; Total PFAS 1.7
25. Nakano Ward, Tokyo 164-0003PFOS 2.3; PFOA 5.1; Total PFAS 13.6
Okinawa, Okinawa 904-0000PFOS 199.7; PFOA 13; PFAS Total 414.7
Osaka-City, Osaka 554-0044PFOS 2.9; PFOA 5.2, Total PFAS 48
Saika Town, Kyoto 619-0244PFOS 0; PFOA 12.5; Total PFAS 18.9
Sasebo, Japan  Total PFAS 0.30. Sasebo, JapanTotal PFAS 0.
Tatikawa, Tokyo 196-0031 PFOS 3.8; PFOA 1.2; Total PFAS 13.9
Tatikawa, Tokyo 196-0031PFOS 87.2; PFOA 33.1; Total PFAS 299.8
Toyoyama, Aichi 480-0201PFOS 7.1; PFOA 1.4; Total PFAS 20.5
Urasoe, Okinawa 901-2124PFOS 4.1 PFOA 0; Total PFAS 7.5
35. Uruma, Okinawa 904-2202PFOS 55.5; PFOA 10.1; Total PFAS 157.1
Yokosuka, Kanagawa 238-0003PFOS 1.2 Total PFOS 1.2
Yokosuka, Kanagawa 238-0003PFAS Total 0
Yokosuka, Kanagawa 238-0003PFAS Total 0.
39. Yokosuka, Kanagawa 238-0003PFAS Total 0
See the full report here. 
_______________________________________________________Please help me pay for the travel and the testing. Please note that your contribution is for the Veterans for Peace Japan Speaking Tour. There’s so much work to be done! Testing surface waters draws attention to this pressing human health issue. Too much attention is focused on the drinking water while food, especially seafood, is the primary pathway of human ingestion of PFAS.
1,000 Yen ($6.40) for an amazing meal.

The Downs Law Group  helps to make this work possible. Their support allows us to research and write about military and industrial contamination around the world.
The firm is working to provide legal representation to individuals in the U.S. and abroad with a high likelihood of exposure to a host of contaminants.The Downs Law Group employs attorneys accredited by the Department of Veterans Affairs to assist those who have served in obtaining VA Compensation and Pension Benefits they are rightly owed.

If you spent time in the military and you think you or your dependents may be sick as a result of your service, think about joining this group to learn from others with similar issues.
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スピーチ原稿(第17回EMRIP アイテム5)2024年7月9日(発表時間:3分)



Activities related to war and military training lead to environmental destruction in the form of violence, and the Ryukyu/Okinawa region has long suffered from the construction of U.S. military bases that have resulted in reclamation of the sea, loss of biodiversity, toxic substances, and noise damage from fighter jets.


In recent years, the contamination of drinking water and health hazards caused by PFAS has become serious; PFAS is an everlasting chemical with carcinogenic properties. In Okinawa, the high birth rate of children with low birth weight is observed, and there is also the unequal victimization of environmental racism that brings the intersectional forms of discrimination, where the damage is always inflicted on socially and culturally disadvantaged groups such as Indigenous peoples, women and children. It is a serious concern that there is water and soil pollution that relates to health and environmental damage.



The Japanese government signed the Japan-U.S. Agreement on Environment supplementary to the Japan-US Security Treaty in 2015, and on this Agreement, the Japanese government said that they “will work on a substantial revision of the Status of Forces Agreement,” but in reality, entry to the US military bases is allowed only for ” accidents that actually happened” and only “when the U.S. military notifies the Japanese Government of the accident.”

The Japanese government do must strongly urges the U.S. military to take responsibility for environmental pollution. If this is not done, the land for the Futenma dai-ni elementary school next to the U.S. military base will remain contaminated, exposing children to an unsafe environment for their education.


Climate change is driven indigenous peoples around the world to the front lines of damage, losing their lands and threatening their lives; military activities in violation of Article 30 of the UNDRIP require a lot of fossil fuels. The data on greenhouse gas emissions from military activities is black boxed but the scale of emissions is non-negligible. The greenhouse gas emissions from our military fortified lands are taking the lives of the world’s indigenous peoples.