A major US newspaper says a Japanese contractor hired by the US Navy is under investigation for possibly dumping wastewater from American warships into Japanese harbors. The Japanese firm denies the allegations.
The Wall Street Journal reported, citing related sources, that the Navy began the investigation in March last year. It said the US Justice Department and the FBI later joined the probe.
The report said the Japanese contractor based in Yokohama, near Tokyo, allegedly dumped wastewater containing oil from US warships into three Japanese harbors. The ports are in Yokosuka, south of Tokyo, and in Sasebo, western Japan, and the southern prefecture of Okinawa. The practice reportedly began in 2008.
Former employees of the contractor reportedly told the newspaper that they at times submitted tap water instead of the treated wastewater as samples for monthly quality checks.
NHK asked the US Navy, the Justice Department and the FBI for comment. None of them responded as of Monday night, Japan time.
An official of the Japanese contractor denied the allegations, telling NHK that the report is not true.
Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters that officials are asking the US authorities about the media report. He added that the government will handle the matter appropriately after confirming the facts.