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Sea-Dumped Chemical Weapons: Japan
GLOBAL GREEN USA, US AFFILIATE OF GREEN CROSS INTERNATIONAL May 12, 2010 Authored by: Ryo Sato
This paper primarily assesses the document “The National Survey on Toxic Gas of the Former Army,” prepared by the Japanese Ministry of the Environment, relating to sea-dumped chemical weapons, as well as other materials listed in the Endnotes. The issues examined are the history of chemical weapons in Japan including production, stockpiles and especially sea-dumping of these weapons.
8 3.. History of Japanese Chemical Weapons…………………………………... US Affiliate of Green Cross International May....4 Japanese Disposal of Chemical Weapons in the Ocean……………... Case Study: Offshore of Choshi Bay……………………………………..........2Category of Poison Gas ………………………………………………....... Conclusion………………………………………………………………................3The Island of Ohkuno in Hiroshima………………………………….....13 7... 2010 Table of Contents 1.. Washing Ashore……………………………………………………….2 1..6 2............................1 Production of Chemical Weapons…………………………………….4 1.. Potential Risks from Disposal in the Ocean…………………………......Ryo Sato Global Green USA.......2 1.4 1..11 6..13 1 .11 5...... Chemical Weapons in the Pacific Ocean…………………………….. Legal Consideration......10 4.....
The history of the Japanese chemical weapons program is summarized here: 1914: The Japanese Army started researching chemical weapons 1919: The Army established a research institute of chemical weapons 1923: The Japanese Navy established a chemical weapons laboratory in Tokyo 1929: The Army started producing chemical weapons on the island of Ohkuno in Hiroshima Prefecture 1933: The government established The School for Chemical Weapon Training in Chiba Prefecture 1934: The Navy’s chemical weapons laboratory raised its status to department level 1937: The government established a factory for chemical weapons in Fukuoka Prefecture1 1943: The Navy started producing chemical weapons in Samukawa. the Japanese government started investigating and researching chemical weapons. US Affiliate of Green Cross International May. because of information that several countries. Hiroshima Pref: Source: http://homepage3. especially in Europe. At the beginning of the First World War.1 Production of Chemical Weapons Chemical weapons were either dumped by the Japanese Army during and after the WWII or by the Allied Forces mainly under the command of the United States between 1945 and 1948.nifty. History of Japanese Chemical Weapons: 1. Kanagawa Prefecture2 Lewisite Factory on the island of Ohkuno.Ryo Sato Global Green USA.com/dokugasu/kaihou08/kaihou082. were considering using chemical weapons. 2010 1.html 2 .
Ryo Sato Global Green USA. more than 30 chemical weapons stockpiles are reported to have existed in Japan (Figure 1)4. 2010 Complete records on chemical weapons have not been found.3 At the end of the Second World War. However. US Affiliate of Green Cross International May. 3 . the current Japanese government acknowledges that more than fifteen chemical weapon factories and laboratories had operated inside Japan until 1945. each line representing a separate dumpsite. The red circles indicate the locations of chemical weapon factories or laboratories.
off the coast from Hiroshima 1929: The Army started producing chemical weapons on the island of Ohkuno and erased the island of Ohkuno from the map 1931: Started producing Phosgene 1933: Started producing Lewisite and tear gas 1935: The Army built German style Yperite manufacturing equipment 1945 August 15th: Stopped the entire chemical factories in Ohkuno (The same date that the Japanese government accepted unconditional surrender. the island used to produce poison gases for the Japanese Army for 16 years. and balloon bombs were produced in Japan till the end of the WWII.3 The Island of Ohkuno in Hiroshima The island of Ohkuno is located in the south east area of Hiroshima. 1927: The Japanese Army bought Yperite (mustard) manufacturing equipment from France and evacuated all the residents from Ohkuno. signal barrels. Although the island of Ohkuno has been developed as a National Vacation Village and become a public health resort today. dumped about 3. US Affiliate of Green Cross International May. The category of poison gases is listed below. The history of Ohkuno is listed below.000 tons of the chemical agents and weapons into the Pacific Ocean 1947: The U. as opposed to the Japanese Navy.) 1945 August 16th: The Army ordered to destroy the evidence of chemical weapons including documents 1946 May: The Allied force. army burned and dissembled the factories of chemical weapons in Ohkuno5 4 .S. under the command of the United States. Army Naming Yellow No.1 Hei Yellow No. the Potsdam declaration. pipes. during the WWII came from this small island and went all over Japan and parts of China.Ryo Sato Global Green USA. All the chemical weapons used by the Japanese Army. 2010 1.1 Otsu Yellow No.1 Ko Yellow No.2 Blue Brown Red Green White Category German type Yperite (Mustard agent) French type Yperite (Mustard agent) German type cold Yperite (not frozen) Lewisite Phosgene Hydrogen cyanide Phenylcyan arsen (Diphenylcyanoarsine and Chloroacetonphenone) Chloroacetophenone (Riot control) Trichloroarsine (Smoke-producing agent) 1.2 Category of Poison Gas Various kinds of toxic gases.
6 French Style Yperite factory in Ohkuno Source: Toxic island research center http://homepage3.Ryo Sato Global Green USA.com/dokugasu/ Left Picture: Chemical weapons storage in Ohkuno Right Picture: Power plant in Ohkuno Source: Pictures taken by Ryo Sato.nifty. and jumped to 5. Global Green USA 5 . However. people were not allowed to take photos and even draw pictures.000 in 1939. people in the train had to shut blinds while the train passed next to the Ohkuno Island. After the government erased the island of Ohkuno from the map. less than 100 employees made chemical weapons. US Affiliate of Green Cross International May. Furthermore. the numbers of employees in chemical weapons productions steadily climbed to several hundred in 1935. 2010 In the beginning of 1929.
up to 138. were dumped by the Japanese Army during and right after the end of the WWII. rivers and lakes – which could pose health risks. massive amounts of chemical weapons were dumped in a relatively short period around the end of the Second World War. In other words. as shown in Table 1 below. However. US Affiliate of Green Cross International May.Ryo Sato Global Green USA. most of the unused chemical weapons were incinerated and dumped in the ocean. including 29 in water – the ocean. This is because seadumping was regarded as one of the safest methods to dispose of chemical weapons. especially for human health. 1945. however. Some weapons.8 Table 1: Reported Dump sites 6 . the government is concerned that there could be more dumpsites. Army. or directly dumped in the ocean mainly under the command of the U. 2010 1.7 The current Japanese government reported that 44 chemical weapon dumping sites exist inside and offshore the current Japanese territory.S.4 Disposal of Japanese Chemical Weapons in the Ocean Most of the chemical weapons were dumped by either the Japanese Army or the Allied Forces mainly under the command of the United States between 1945 and 1948. After the Japanese government accepted the unconditional surrender on 15th August.
Ryo Sato Global Green USA.689 tons of Mustard 450 tons of Mustard By Country U. originating from Choshi-shi Narashino and Funabashi-shi (Land). and Australia U. US Affiliate of Green Cross International May. Oita Prefecture U.S. off Tokyo. Table 2 lists some locations of the major sea-dumped Japanese chemical weapons.967 kg of Mustard August.849 kg of Mustard More than 2. and Australia Source: The Japanese Ministry of the Environment official website 7 .S.700 tons of Mustard and lewisite 990 tons of Diphenylcyanoarsine 7 tons of Chloroacetonphenone 39. and Australia Japan Unspecified amount of Mustard 6 tons of Lewisite Unspecified amount of hydrogen cyanide 2 tons of Mustard and Lewisite Japan August 17. type and disposal by country: Date August 1946 October 1945 – May 1946 1945 (Around the end of WW2) August 1945 Location Sea-dumped but Unspecified Pacific Ocean. Oita Prefecture Sea-dumped but unspecified Chemical Weapon or Agent 3.S. Diphenylcyanoarsine and Chloroacetonphenone. and Australia U. ordered to be disposed of by several countries: Table 2: Major sea-dumped Japanese chemical weapons.000 kg of Mustard 10 tons of Chloroacetophenone Japan Japan U. off Tokyo Lake Hamana-ko. Hydrogen Cyanide. location. off Kochi Prefecture 192. 2010 The five major types of chemical weapons produced by the Japanese Army before the Second World War were Mustard. with date.S. 1945 October.S.S. 1946 Beppu Bay. Shizuoka Prefecture Beppu bay. not including bullets filled with chemicals. U. 1945 November 1946 – May 1947 August 1946 Unspecified 16 tons of Mustard 2 tons of Lewisite 90. Some were dumped in the ocean (unspecified) Pacific Ocean. Lewisite. 18. and Australia Sea-dumped but unspecified Pacific Ocean. Sagami bay.
Ryo Sato Global Green USA. 1954 Mustard At least 1 injury 1962 Gas bullets 11 injured September 5th. US Affiliate of Green Cross International May. 1954 60kg of Mustard 6 injured bullets September 13th. 1967 Unspecified Several injured January 17th. 1970 300 kg of Mustard 5 injured can Mustard bullets th January 25 . During the past 65 years. 1963 Mustard bullets 1 died. 1951 19 kg of toxic gas 4 died June 24th. Unspecified 5 injured 1967 September. 2002 Mustard 3 injured Pref Off Choshi. bringing the total up to more than 830 cases. type of chemical weapons and victims of discoveries. 1970 Mustard bullets 10 injured March 1970 11 of Mustard bullets 9 injured November 12th. One Mustard bullet 1 injured 1974 September 3rd. more than ten people died and more than 400 people suffered ill effects from these chemical weapons. 1968 Unspecified 10 2 injured bullets August 27th. 300kg of Mustard 10 injures 1957 bullet 1958 Mustard bullets 17 toxic symptoms th September 26 . 1 injured nd Kuji-bay. The table indicates the location. Table 3: Chemical Weapons Victims from CW dumped in Japanese Waters Prefecture Date Chemical Weapons Injuries and deaths Mutsu-bay. Aomori Pref April. 1976 Mustard 5 injured 8 . 1985 Unspecified iron pips Several children injured th Kashima-bay. Potential Risks from Disposal in the Ocean According to the result of research conducted by the Ministry of the Environment reported in 2004. The deaths all relate to chemical weapons dumped in Japanese waters. 2010 2. incidents of human health consequences and the government’s handling of chemical weapons9 Some chemical weapons have been discovered after the Ministry reported the research in 2004. Chiba Pref April 1st. Table 4 shows the discoveries of sea-dumped chemical weapons that have caused human injuries after the Second World War. Ibaraki March 26 . since 1945 there had been 822 cases including the discoveries of CW. 1954 2 bullets of Mustard 6 injured th June 29 . Ibaraki Pref July 2 . date.
Oita March 16 . 1975 Mustard pipe October 10th. 1954 50 kg of Mustard Pref bullets 1955-1956 1360 Mustard bullets. 2010 Off Futtsu. 1954 Mustard bullets Pref April. 2 to 3 children injured Several injured 1 died. 27 injured 1 injured Several injured 4 injured Several injured 13 injured Several injured 2 injured 11 injured Several injured 3 injured 3 injured 3 injured 32 injured 9 . May 1968 1 toxic gas tank Ehime Pref Kanda bay. Hiroshima Pref Diphenylcyanoarsine April 1951 Unspecified May 29th. 1978 Mustard bullets Hamana-ko lake. Fukuoka April. August. 1952 30 bullets of Mustard Pref February 1957 Mustard bullets March 1961 2 shells Off Komatsu-shima July 1950 Mustard can island. 1945 Mustard. 90 injured 1 injured 1 died. 1945 4 to 5 cans of Shizuoka Pref Mustard July 16th. Chiba Pref June 19th. September. Tokushima Pref Off Omishima Higai. 1975 Mustard pipe th September 7 . 1958 20 kg tank of hydrogen cyanide th May 11 . Lewisite Osaka Pref Off Himeji.Ryo Sato Global Green USA. 77 of White 1956 Phosphorus Off Ohkuno-shima 1946. island. US Affiliate of Green Cross International May. 1954 Mustard bullets th Off Beppu bay. 1968 1 toxic gas tank February 22nd. 1137 toxic bullets Source: The Japanese Ministry of the Environment official website 2 injured 2 injured 1 inured 2 injured 1 injured Several injured 2 died. Hyogo Pref February to April. 1 tank of hydrogen 1970 cyanide th Ohkuno-shima island. several injured Several injured 1 died. Lewisite. 1970 1 toxic gas tank December 22nd. 1947 Unspecified steel drum June 1st. 1975 Unspecified November 1975 Mustard bullets th July 15 . 1952 Can of Mustard Kawachinagano (pond). Yamaguch August 26 . 1947 Mustard. 1972 Unspecified 2 steel Hiroshima Pref drum th Suounada. April 18 .
The Allied forces dumped 450 tons of chemical weapons in the depth of 100 – 200 meters between October 1945 and May 1946. US Affiliate of Green Cross International May. no incident was reported to the government from 1993 to 2001.11 In fact. However.10 According to the Japanese Ministry of the Environment. which would affect their business. 10 . people discovered chemical weapons and agents 66 times. located about 100 km east of Tokyo. Choshi is famous as a fish market and the city ranks number one in Japan in terms of the amount of fish caught annually. The fishermen are worried about the rumor that the fish from this region might be polluted by the weapons. Case Study: Offshore of Choshi Bay Choshi is one of the cities in Chiba prefecture. In 1972. fishermen in the bay area have been throwing the discovered chemical weapons back to the ocean without reporting to the government. 2010 3. 606 incidents were reported to the government and more than 50 people have suffered from the incidents around the offshore of the Bay.Ryo Sato Global Green USA. Offshore of Choshi Bay was one of the biggest chemical dump sites in Japan.
S. an Australian based business providing environmental/marine pollution solutions. This document outlined retaliation against the U. 6. Furthermore.12 This raises the possibility that chemical weapons might have been dumped. However. Hiroshima Pref Agent 19kg of toxic gas 2 shells 35 pipes of Akazutsu (Diphenylarsinic acid) Consequence 4 people died 2 policemen injured No injury Source: The Japanese Ministry of the Environment official website 5.000 tons were somehow disposed of in other Asian and Pacific countries. in case the U. However. Singapore. and Ujina.800 vessels were sunk. in order to fight the Allied force. Manila.15 These shipwrecks could bring about massive disasters from leaking oil in the future. statistical data also shows the possible existence of chemical weapons in other Asian countries. Chiba Pref Suounada.16 For 11 . as discussed above. the Japanese Army announced “the outline of chemical war preparation” against the United States.616 tons of chemical weapons were produced in Ohkuno-island. Yamaguchi Pref Okuno-shima. Table 4 Date April 1951 March 1961 February 1997 Location Choshi. also at sea. the Japanese government only documented the following three incidents of accidental retrieval of chemical weapons washing ashore out of the total of 822 cases.647 tons have been found since the end of the Second World War. The locations of stockpiles were decided by the Japanese government to be in Shanghai. Truck Lagoon and Sapporo. This implies that nearly 3. In the South Pacific 3.most of them in the Pacific Ocean. only 3.Ryo Sato Global Green USA. The precise amount of chemical weapons that came from each of these stockpile locations is unknown. During the Second World War 7. by using chemical weapons. according to Sea Australia.13 Another problem is the issue of sunken ships leaking oil. not only in China but also in other Asian and Pacific countries. and the risks of more CW washing ashore appear relatively small.240 Japanese commercial ships alone were sunk14 -. These incidents are rare considering the thousands of chemical weapons dumped off the coasts of Japan over 65 years.S. Washing Ashore: In 2004’s report. Army used chemical weapons. chemical weapons still threaten populations in the vicinity of the dumping sites and residents have to beware. US Affiliate of Green Cross International May. a professor at Chuo University. where the amount has been specified. According to Yoshiaki Yoshimi. over 85% of them under the Japanese flag. Chemical Weapons in the Pacific Ocean On January 29th. 2010 4. 1944. except in the case of Ujina.
Shinkoku Maru and Fujisan Maru) and combined these have the potential to spill up to 32. dynamite fishing.000 gallons).000. The tanker contained 2.18 Figure 2: World War II sunken vessels combining AMIO and SPREP databases Source: The Global Risk of Marine Pollution from WWII Shipwrecks (details?) 12 . which are vulnerable to improper anchoring. which now rests on the seabed. in 1944 an American bomb sank the Japanese oil tanker Hoyo-maru. and storms. The Australian sea archaeologist Jeffery Bill states that of the 52 shipwrecks located in Chuuk Lagoon. A number of environmentalists worry about these wrecks. three are oil tankers (Hoyo Maru.000 tons of oil (approximately 32.000. 2010 instance.Ryo Sato Global Green USA.000 gallons of fuel oil which could leak into the ocean. since many have already been submerged for more than 60 years.000 liters or 7. Researchers are also concerned about the corrosion and possibility of leakage from these wrecks.17 Sunken ships have the potential to harm human health and marine environment.620. US Affiliate of Green Cross International May.
lakes and rivers. as well as those of other nations. Press conference with the Minister of the Environment. sunk in the Pacific. However. Legal Consideration On April 28th. the Japanese Ministry of the Environment held a press conference.240 Japanese ships. 2009. there have been over 800 discoveries of dumped chemical weapons around Japan. which could help decrease the potential impact on humans and the marine environment. 13 . Conclusion: Since the Second World War. US Affiliate of Green Cross International May. 7. 2010 6. “The Cabinet decided that the Ministry of the Environment has a responsibility for the dumped chemical weapons on the land. Saito)19 It is clear from the above statement that the Japanese government still does not have a clear method to remedy the problem of sea-dumped chemical weapons inside their country. In recent year the Japanese government has researched and disclosed some information on chemical weapons issues. 2009. The negative legacy of the Second World War also includes the danger of petroleum leakages from the 7.ocean. further research and action is urgently needed. during which it stated the Ministry’s current approach to dealing with sea-dumped chemical weapons.Ryo Sato Global Green USA.)” (April 28. In light of the potential risk these chemical weapons pose both to the environment and local communities in the Pacific Ocean. it is still not clear whether and how to deal with chemical weapons from water (.
US Affiliate of Green Cross International May. Yuji Okano. The National Survey on Toxic Gas of Former Army. 5 6 7 Hatsuichi Murakami. The National Survey on Toxic Gas of Former Army.or. July 2008. I was born in the village of toxic gas. 72. 11. The National Survey on Toxic Gas of Former Army. The History of Toxic Gas Island. October 2003. 17. 12 Yoshiaki Yoshimi. Hiroshima Educational Research Institute. Japanese Ministry of the Environment.2004. 2010) 15 ReanMonfils. 2 Yoshiaki Yoshimi. 2010 Endnotes 1 Japanese Ministry of the Environment. 23-45.2004. The National Survey on Toxic Gas of Former Army. 10. 38.ymf.2. Loss Commercial ships during/after the War. Toxic Gas Island.jp/image/nenpo56/nenpo56.2004. The Report from OkunoShima. 17.ooida. The National Survey on Toxic Gas of Former Army. 13 Yoshiaki Yoshimi. The National Survey on Toxic Gas of Former Army. 13. 2004. February 1997. Goudou.2004. Resource Center of Sunken ships in battle and mariner. Sea Australia. 9 Japanese Ministry of the Environment. 4 Japanese Ministry of the Environment. The Global Risk of Marine Pollution from WWII Shipwrecks: Examples from the Seven Seas. 3 Japanese Ministry of the Environment. 2004. Chemical gasses use by the Japanese Army. The National Survey on Toxic Gas of Former Army. The National Survey on Toxic Gas of Former Army.2004.2004. 8 Japanese Ministry of the Environment. Dokulekiken-Kaihou. http://www. 11 Japanese Ministry of the Environment. 14 . 14 Takashi Oida. 19. 10 Japanese Ministry of the Environment. 10.pdf (Accessed on March 16th .Ryo Sato Global Green USA.
aspx?linkid=112882&keybold=oil%20A ND%20%20spill%20AND%20%20ship (Accessed on March 18th . 2010) 19 Japanese Ministry of the Environment official website. US Affiliate of Green Cross International May.jp/annai/kaiken/h21/0428. 2008 18 TaliWoodward. Press conference with the Minister of the Environment.org/shared/reader/welcome. 2008.oceanconserve. December 9.Ryo Sato Global Green USA. http://www.oceanconserve. World War 2 Wrecks Pose Risk of Toxic Leaks. World War 2 Wrecks Pose Risk of Toxic Leaks.Pacific.Pacific.org/shared/reader/welcome. Ocean Conserve News Archive. 2010 16 TaliWoodward.env. December 9.aspx?linkid=112882&keybold=oil%20A ND%20%20spill%20AND%20%20ship (Accessed on March 16th . 2008. http://www. http://www.go.html (Accessed on May 7th. 2010) 15 . August 17th . 2010) 17 Bill Jeffery. Report on Oil/Diesel leaking from shipwrecks in Chuuk Lagoon.Ocean Conserve News Archive.
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