NAF Atsugi, Japan

From 1985 to 2001, personnel at Naval Air Facility (NAF) Atsugi in Atsugi, Japan may have been exposed to environmental contaminants from off-base waste incinerators.

Atsugi was built in 1938, by the Japanese Imperial Navy as the Kamikaze Naval Air Base. On August 15, 1945, Japan announced its unconditional surrender. On August 30, 1945, General Douglas MacArthur landed with 8,000 troops at Atsugi to accept the formal surrender and assume the duties as military Governor of Japan. For several years, the Army used the base as a storage area. In 1950, at the outset of the Korean War, the Navy selected/commissioned Atsugi as its major naval air station in the Far East and base restoration and development immediately began. At the height of the Korean War, more than 250 aircraft flew daily from Atsugi. After the War, NAS Atsugi began downsizing. At this time, the U.S. Navy and Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) became base partners, sharing the facilities at NAF Atsugi.

The incinerator was shut down in May 2001.
Advocacy groups show the following information:


Potential health impacts claimed by those exposed include:

  • AML Leukemia
  • Basal Cell Carcinoma
  • Brain Cancer
  • Breast Cancer
  • Bone Cancer
  • Cervical Cancer
  • Lymphoma
  • Neuroblastoma
  • Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
  • Pancreatic Cancer
  • Renal Call Carcinoma
  • Rectal Cancer
  • T-Cell and Thyroid Cancer



Chemicals involved include:

Acetaldehyde, Arsenic, Benzene, Beryllium, Carbon Tetrachloride, Cadmium, Chloroform, Chromium, Dioxin, Formaldehyde, Hydrochloric Acid, Lead, Mercury, Nickel, Nitrogen Dioxide, Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs), Respirable Particulates (PM 10), Sulfur Dioxide, Tetrachloroethene (PCE), Trichloroethene (TCE), Vinyl Choride, cis-1,3 Dichloropropene, trans 1,2 Dichloropropene, 2,3,7,8, TCDD, 1,2 Dichlorethane, 1,2 Dichloropropane, 1,4 Dichlorobenzene, and others.


The VA Public Health Website contains the following quote:

Currently there is no definitive scientific evidence to show that living at NAF Atsugi while the incinerator operated caused additional risk for disease.
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Civilian Exposure

Civilian Exposure is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit organization/public charity working to Build Awareness, Accountability and Assistance for Civilians Exposed to Camp Lejeune Water Contamination and all citizens exposed to any toxic contamination aboard all U.S. military installations. The effort continues to inform civilian employees and others affected by contamination to receive both the guidance and the justice they deserve.

About the Founder
A 20-year veteran of media, marketing, non-profits and entrepreneurship, Gavin P. Smith leads Civilian Exposure, a non-profit assisting civilians and veterans exposed to U.S. military contamination; the Keta Foundation, a collaborative foundation dedicated to mitigating modern slavery through economic improvement projects in Africa; and Gavin Consulting, a network of virtual experts serving global clients; He is also a former member of the CDC/ATSDR Camp Lejeune Community Assistance Panel. Mr. Smith holds a Master of Global Management with distinction (Beta Gamma Sigma) from Thunderbird School of Global Management, an MBA from The College of William & Mary Mason School of Business and a BA in History from Wake Forest University.

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